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Civic Society calls for dialogue as Zimbabwe burns ahead of elections 

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By Clayton Shereni | Masvingo Correspondent


CIVIC society leaders have called for dialogue between political actors to end cases of political violence recorded across the country.

Serious cases of political violence were recorded in Masvingo’s rural districts of Chiredzi, Bikita, and Gutu.

This has attracted the attention of the civic society where leaders from various organizations are calling for dialogue to curb the rise in political violence.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson, Obert Masaraure bemoaned the lack of action by the regional body Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) and called for a national dialogue.

“SADC and AU are just watching as Zimbabwe goes through another routine cycle of heavily disputed elections. ZANU PF has completely switched to its traditional violence mode. All hopes of a credible election have been done a heavy blow. We call for national dialogue to find a way of extricating ourselves from this web of violent and heavily rigged elections. No one should suffer violence for their political choices, the practice is shameful and barbaric. Zimbabwe deserves better,” said Masaraure.

Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) Director, Zivanai Muzorodzi also weighed in and told NewZimbabwe.com that they are creating platforms for engagement between political players as cases of violence continue to rise in Masvingo.

“Political violence is rife in rural Masvingo. So far, we have recorded almost 40 cases of political violence across the province. Intimidation is on the rise, some are beaten while some meetings are being banned. We condemn in the strongest terms cases of political violence. COTRAD is creating nonpartisan interface platforms for dialogue to diffuse political tension,” said Muzorodzi.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has warned all perpetrators of violence saying, they will be brought to book as the country gears up for the August 23 polls.

However, the police stand accused of selective application of the law as perpetrators of violence linked to the ruling Zanu PF are reportedly walking scot-free.

Two houses belonging to Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists were reportedly burnt in Chiredzi while a 21-year-old CCC activist was allegedly flogged for failing to chant a Zanu PF slogan at a sports gala in Bikita District.

Zimbabwe witnessed the death of Tinashe Chitsunge a CCC activist last week following violent clashes between Zanu PF and CCC activists in Harare’s high-density suburb of Glenview 7.

Police have so far arrested 13 people in connection with Chitsunge’s murder.

Political parties including Zanu PF and CCC signed peace pledges recently but cases of violence involving their members continue to be recorded.