Political violence will cause voter apathy

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Kwekwe-violence

BY STAFF REPORTER
RISING cases of politically motivated violence will cause voter apathy in the March 26 by-elections and other electoral processes, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) warned.

There has been an increase in politically motivated violence following the proclamation of the by-election date by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

On Sunday, a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) died after he was stabbed with a spear by a suspected Zanu PF supporter at a Kweke rally in Midlands addressed by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

In a statement, the ZESN said political violence undermines trust in elections and other democratic processes.

“Political and electoral related violence undermines civil and political rights and affects citizens’ right to compete in electoral processes. Also; it erodes trust in democratic processes as well as undermines the quality of democracy thereby, limiting inclusive participation,” the ZESN said.

“The recent violent clashes have a potential to adversely affect the turnout of citizens on the ongoing voter registration exercise as violence impacts negatively on the participation in electoral processes especially of women and people with disabilities.”

According to the CCC, opposition supporters bear the brunt of the political violence allegedly committed by Zanu PF supporters.

Zanu PF denies the charges.

But the ZESN said political parties have to create a conducive environment where all citizens enjoy their fundamental rights without fear.

“ZESN calls on political parties to embrace divergent views and promote peace in the country as well as to put in place mechanisms that promote the participation of women in electoral processes,” ZESN added.

“The Network recommends that perpetrators of violence must be arrested and there is a need for a more holistic and expanded legal framework to deal with perpetrators of political and electoral related violence.”