CIVIL and human rights watch dog, Heal Zimbabwe Trust, has expressed concern over the use of derogatory slogans by some political parties, which it says can incite political violence ahead of the upcoming general elections.
BY SILAS NKALA
The trust said Zanu PF and the main opposition MDC-T have slogans that have undertones of violence.
“The slogans chanted by these two political parties during their rallies are inciteful and have violence undertones. Slogans such as ‘Pasi neMDC…’ (down with MDC) and ‘chihurumende che Zanu PF mudenga, icho varoverei pasi!’ (Lift the Zanu PF government up, crash it down hard) incite hate and animosity among political players,” the trust said.
“On February 7, 2018, while addressing a rally in Guruve, President Emmerson Mnangagwa chanted a slogan ‘Pasi nezvimbwasungata, pasi nemhandu’ [loosely translated as ‘down with enemies and sellouts’]…”
The trust said though leaders of these political parties have openly denounced political violence, their party systems and structures appeared to celebrate violence.
“As the nation readies for elections, political parties must now take a leading role campaigning for peace and tolerance.”
The trust said political parties must be guided by the provisions of the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties, which stipulates that no political party or any of its members or supporters, and no candidate or any of his or her supporters, may: use violence, or threaten violence or incite or encourage the use of violence, against anyone on account of his or her political opinions or membership or support of a political party or participation in the election.
It added parties should not force citizens not to vote or to vote for a candidate or political party against his/her will or to reveal the identity of the candidate they voted for.
The organisation in its campaign dubbed 13 Million Voices for Peace will engage various political parties on the need for peaceful polls.
Cases of voter intimidation are reportedly on the rise, amid accusations that some Zanu PF and traditional leaders were forcing villagers to submit their voter registration slip serial numbers.