Human Rights watchdog, Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) has condemned the intra-party violence that occurred during Zanu PF primary elections held early this week.
BY SILAS NKALA
The Zanu PF primary elections were marred by allegations of violence, intimidation, assault, vote-buying, ballot-stuffing and the use of police officers in polls management.
Police officers were reportedly deployed throughout the country to act as polling agents during the primary elections.
HZT said in Centenary, Mashonaland Central, voting was stopped after disgruntled supporters violently protested against ballot-stuffing at Mukwengure Primary School.
“In Kwekwe ward 9, councillor, Kandu Lawe on April 29 allegedly stormed Amaveni polling station over some cell register irregularities and threatened to assault polling agents if they continued with the primary elections.
In another case, aspiring candidate for Kwekwe Central, John Mapurazi pulled out of the elections, citing violence and intimidation.
Zanu PF supporters violently seized and burnt ballot papers in Murehwa South at Craiglea Primary School,” HZT said in its report.
“In Chegutu West, Dexter Nduna publicly fired shots in the air at Chinengundu Primary School on May 1. In Muzarabani South ward 17, village head and Zanu PF district chairman, George Kambudzi an agent for councillor, Proud Pfotso on April 30, assaulted Feira Moya for supporting Maxwell Kangosa an aspiring councillor at Kambudzi Primary School.”
HZT said it perceived the clashes as barbaric and uncalled for, as they cast doubt over the possibility of peaceful, free and fair elections.
The trust said it condemned the use of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in the management of the primary elections, a direct contradiction of section 219(2) of the Constitution, which clearly stipulates that the police must be non-partisan.
“Heal Zimbabwe implores Zanu PF and other political parties, who are yet to conduct primary elections, to abide by the electoral code of conduct for political parties and candidates, 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,” the report read.
“Intimidate, or incite or encourage the intimidation, of anyone on account of his or her political opinions or membership or support of a political party; act in a way that may provoke violence or intimidation; use violence or threats or illegal pressure to force voter to refrain from voting or to vote for a candidate or political party against his or her will; force a voter to reveal the identity of the candidate voted for or take reprisals against a person because of the way in which he or she has voted or is believed to have voted.”
HZT said it implored the police to maintain law and order without fear or favour as enshrined in the Constitution and ensure that the environment was peaceful for all citizens.
“HZT calls for political parties to value human life and take necessary measures to uphold peace. Political parties must punish rogue supporters responsible for violence and establish sustainable peaceful measures of deterring future violent conflicts. The organisation further urges political parties to promote a culture of peace and tolerance within its structures as the nation approaches the elections,” the trust said.