BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
TOP human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtewa has ratcheted pressure on the State to take action against a Zanu PF member who threatened Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa with death.
The Zanu PF member Abton Mashayanyika is a bishop of the Habakkuk Apostolic Faith Mission in Mberengwa, Midlands province.
He is currently a free man despite the existence of a video that went viral showing him telling party supporters that Chamisa and his family should be killed.
The video triggered outrage within civil society groups, human rights defenders and the public in general who are arguing that the Zanu PF official’s utterances were out of order especially as the country is preparing for general elections next year.
In a letter dated July 25, 2022, which was also addressed to the Deputy Police Commissioner (Crime), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), Mtetwa demanded full investigation of Mashayanyika’s utterances and called for his arrest.
“Like other citizens, I have been waiting with bated breath for the arrest of the inciter and for the law to take its course. As it does not appear that the law enforcement agencies have taken any action on these inciteful calls, I shall assume that the country’s ever alert law enforcement agents missed this video in their usual scouring of social media sites in search of offensive and possibly criminal material.”
She added: “To the commissioner-general of police, I request that in line with your constitutional mandate to detect, investigate and prevent crime in addition to protecting and securing the lives and property of Zimbabweans, you investigate these utterances with a view to prosecuting what is clearly a criminal offence.”
Mtetwa urged the ZHRC to investigate the matter and direct the police commissioner-general to deal with the matter and deter crimes of inciting public violence.
“And to the National Prosecuting Authority, the request is that you look into the matter and exercise your prosecuting powers independently, impartially and without fear or favour so that the perception that you only pursue and vigorously prosecute opposition political party members can be dispelled.
“To Zec, this is a complaint which would, if handled as envisaged by the law, help political parties understand that every Zimbabwean has the right to participate in the country’s political processes without fear of being killed, maimed or intimidated,” she added.
Mtetwa also wants the NPRC’s intervention in the matter to encourage politics of tolerance and avoid a repetition of bloody elections in the 2023 polls.
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