Parly called to enact stiffer penalties against electoral violence; growing fears of bloody 2023 elections

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By Leopold Munhende I Chief Correspondent

HEAL Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), a community oriented human rights organisation, has called on Parliament to summon the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) to detail plans they have to stem politically motivated violence ahead of next year’s polls.

The petition presented to Parliament Wednesday noted an increase in acts of violence by political parties and against each other, adding lives had already been lost as a result.

It also demands that chiefs appear before the august House to address allegations that they were used to intimidate villagers.

Undersigned by 5 000 signatories, the document further outlines comments by political and social leaders fuelling violence.

“There is an increase in politically motivated violence at both intra and inter party level that has claimed Zimbabwean lives, livelihoods and threatened the peace, social cohesion, unity and harmony in the country we all love,” reads the petition, signed by HZT executive director, Rashi Mahiya.

“Such violence has been accompanied and worsened by the abuse of the authority of traditional leaders and intolerant hate speech by political and society leaders, both of which have contributed heavily in incite ing violence.

“The interventions by the government, state institutions and bodies mandated to ensure peace, national healing, social cohesion and the prevention and mitigation of violent conflict have been inadequate and failed to tame the beast of violence.”

Two Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters, Mboneni Ncube and Moreblessing Ali, were reportedly killed by Zanu PF activists in separate attacks this year.

Ruling Zanu PF party supporters

Ncube was stabbed by marauding Zanu PF youths in Mbizo, where he was attending a by-election rally headlined by party president Nelson Chamisa.

Ali’s body was found hacked, stuffed in a sack and dumped in a disused well in Chitungwiza, with reports indicating she was slain for engaging in a voter registration process for CCC.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and Zanu PF officials are on record calling for attacks against Chamisa’s supporters. None has been called to order, or faced justice.

The opposition leader’s events have been violently disrupted by suspected Zanu PF vigilante groups across the country.

HZT noted that the occurrence of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe had become normal and called on Parliament to make permanent the Multi Party Liaison Committee and Special Investigative Committees to facilitate dialogue and look into cases as they arise.

Added HZT: “Introduce harsh and stiffer penalties for electoral offences particularly political violence.

“Cause the NPRC to appear before Parliament to make known their plans to the nation in line with its mandate in terms Section 252 of the Constitution.

“All that has been done incidental to the prevention of conflict and promotion of peace in the face of increased cases of political violence and intolerance which threatens to tear apart our fragile peace.

“Cause the ZHRC to appear before Parliament to make known their plans and program of action to ensure the fundamental rights cast in stone in the Bill of Rights are protected, promoted and respected as the nation descends into an election season, a period traditionally associated with human rights violations and abuse.”