THE Citizens in Action Southern Africa (CIASA) is deeply concerned by the escalating political violence ahead of the harmonised elections this year.
Over the weekend, armed, button-wielding anti-riot police invaded the home of opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Member of Parliament Costa Mangichauta. This unwarranted operation resulted in the clubbing and subsequent arrest of 25 CCC activists and perceived political opponents to the ruling Zanu PF party, including Mkoba legislator Amos Chibaya.
After this sting operation, the police went on a rempage around Budiriro township, beating up suspected and perceived opponents of the ruling Zanu PF party. In response, CIASA deployed a team to closely monitor the events as they constituted gross human rights violation for the victims of violence. The arrested persons have been detained and await their charges and expected to be in court within the stipulated 48 hours from the time of arrest.
This pattern of politically-motivated violence and persecution is characteristic of elections in Zimbabwe. This election has a growing concern over the overtness of the violence and the indifference by government.
Similarly, 2022 was characterised by serious bouts of violence in the run up to the March 26 by-elections and many other by-elections that followed.
Pursuant to this rising trend, is an increasingly authoritarian regime that is consistently shutting civic space and suppressing fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
With just a fortnight into the year, Zimbabwe has experienced gruelling images of violence meted out against defenceless elderly in Murehwa district which saw the hospitalisation of the victims.
Repeated calls for electoral reforms are ever more relevant today as violence engulfs the whole electoral cycle. Security sector independence in the execution of its mandate is a prerequisite for any credible election and this clear partisan conduct by the police should be shunned by all political actors and government alike.
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The unwarranted attack on a civilian leader’s home and subsequent arrest of dozens of opposition figures present a sad reality as to the fairness of the coming election and the evenness of the playing field.
CIASA, therefore, strongly urges the government to remain committed to the Bill of Rights and the defence of civil liberties endowed to all citizens. The government is also urged to maintain a non-partisan bias as the foundation of a functional administration and allow all political actors the freedoms accorded to them by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Finally, we encourage government to strongly oversee operations by uniformed forces and protect civilians from such brutal and unwarranted conduct. - CIASA information department
Politics must not divide citizens
IT’S not good to speak bad of your neighbours’ predicament, especially illness and poverty.
As Zimbabweans, we must not be known as heartless loose cannons, who always celebrate each other’s misfortune. We must endeavour to comfort even those we term “our enemies” in their trying times.
As for the elections, it’s all about choice. We go to the polls to choose leaders who we deem suitable to lead our nation; so if we see that some of the candidates are not suitable through either corruption, age or whatever, we should be allowed to make a choice.
If the ruling party fields an unsuitable (very old) candidate, and it’s an advantage to your party, why do you cry? So, we may disparage these politicians for their bad characters or their lack of leadership qualities, but not their sickness or old age.
It’s within your rights to choose a political party of our choice, respect each other’s rights and stop all those name-calling and vulgar words and learn to live together in peace. We are all Zimbabweans first before we choose to support these political parties.
Political leaders are mature, they don’t fight and kill each other. That is why the late former MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe sat for cups of coffee during the days of the inclusive government. Yes, they were mature Zimbabweans.
If you kill your neighbour because of political differences, the avenging spirit will not go to the political parties you support, it will come to torment your family members.
Don’t say I didn’t warn anyone. - Trust Mbanda
Zanu PF to blame for economic collapse
ZIMBABWE has for a long time been caught in a permanent fudge status quo, straddling from one crisis to another, radar-less, leaderless and clueless.
Government business has come to a standstill rendering a situation whereby the State is unable to discharge its core responsibilities because Zanu PF leaders are busy enriching themselves through corrupt tendencies.
Our new reality is that of structural failure of our government.
The economy has been in structural decline for years and our dead currency speaks to this.
From a stabilised economy in 2013, we have since slid into an inflationary situation in recent weeks, in an environment with absent aggregate demand because Zimbabweans have been pauperised, and have no disposable income.
This combination has left Zimbabweans worse off than they were in the period leading to the consummation of the Government of National Unity in 2009.
Poor vendors are not in the street by choice, but are improvising to mitigate the unpalatable suffering created by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his cabal.
At the centre of the confusion and crisis is the absence of a proper and credible leadership.
This is seen in failure to respond by the authorities and the broken politics from Munhumutapa Building. In short, there is a serious leadership crisis, in the holistic sense. - Takunda Shato