BY RICHARD MUPONDE
The ruling Zanu PF and opposition MDC parties have been accused of fanning violence through hate speech, thus entrenching fear in the electorate.
This was revealed in a 2020 Hate Speech Report launched yesterday by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and The National Transitional Justice Working Group.
“Tolerance, which can be measured through social dialogue, is a good measure for democracy, constitutionalism, and peace within a society,” part of the report released on Tuesday read.
“However, elections, protests and fundamental freedoms of expression which form an integral part of social dialogue, have been met with brutality-fuelled hate speech.
“Hate speech takes the form of formal and informal statements from the ruling Zanu PF party and its members and supporters, as well as hate speech from the main opposition MDC and all its offshoots including the MDC Alliance and the MDC-T.”
The human rights lobby groups said the “new dispensation”, which ushered President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power through a November 2017 coup, promised reforms, but rather, the human rights situation has further deteriorated from the pre-November 2017 era.
“Episodes of mass human rights violations witnessed in January 2019 preceded by the August 1, 2018 post-election violence are a testament of the resurgence in human rights violations.
“At the core of State-sponsored human rights violations is hate speech driven by intolerance and hatred for divergent views,” the report read.
It said political intolerance and intolerance to divergent views, in the name of political expediency, were the primary drivers of hate speech in the
“In turn, impunity fuels hate speech, resulting in a cycle of protracted intolerance. At the helm of hate speech are high-ranking government officials, who have publicly fuelled hate speech with impunity,” the report said.
“In the context of Zimbabwe, hate speech cannot be viewed in isolation. This report, therefore, focuses on hate speech based on the current context which is characterised by, corruption, deteriorating economic and political conditions as well as analysing the motivation, the actors and the outcomes of hate speech.”
The rights group said despite constitutional provisions that seek to regulate hate speech and intolerance, the political environment in the country remains awash with hate speech.
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