Peace under threat: Catholic bishops

Political violence has escalated ahead of the by-elections.

ZIMBABWEANS are facing new threats putting the country’s calmness and tranquillity under threat, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC) has said.

In a Press statement, the bishops said despite the country not facing war, citizens were under threat from crime as well as political violence.

 “Not that there is a war threat, far from that, but we are seeing new threats to people's calm and tranquillity, which is what the Hebrew word for peace, “Shalom” entails. There is a high level of crime in many communities. We have seen the upsurge of armed robberies,” ZCBC said.

“Gender-based violence in families is on the rise. Politically, we seem to be perpetually in the election mode, a reality that in this country sends a shudder down the spine. Our elections are characterised by violence.”

The bishops said the post-election period had eroded the gains made in promoting peace and diffusion of political tension in the country.

“There were retributions targeting those who were perceived to have voted wrongly, whatever that means! With the recent political recalls of the elected Members of Parliament, Senators and councillors, the nation has been thrust into a new form of violence: people rightfully elected can’t wantonly be recalled,” the statement said.

Zimbabwe is set to hold by-elections on December 9 after Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC)’s self-imposed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu recalled the party’s legislators and councillors.

Political violence has escalated ahead of the by-elections.

A CCC activist Tapfumaneyi Masaya was found dead nearly two weeks ago following his abduction by suspected State security agents while campaigning in Mabvuku.

A fortnight earlier, CCC legislator Takudzwa Ngadziore recorded a short video of gun-toting men closing in on him before he was abducted, tortured and injected with an unknown substance and later dumped in Mazowe.

Last month, former Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Chidhakwa was also abducted and tortured.

“This advent we once again appeal to our political leaders to denounce politically-motivated violence. To the law enforcement agents, bring perpetrators of political violence to book.

“To the legislators, revisit the enacted laws that can easily be manipulated at the expense of the people's basic rights and freedoms. It is in the same vein that we would like to remind everyone that we all have a duty to work for the promotion of peace and to be agents of peace.”

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