Harare – The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) condemns the assault of opposition MDC-T members by suspected Zanu-PF youths in Highfields and disruption of a funeral in Mbare in Harare over the weekend.
Suspected Zanu-PF youths attacked MDC-T members who were carrying out a door to door membership recruitment and mobilisation exercise in Highfields on Saturday in preparation for the harmonised elections in 2018.
MDC-T District Youth Deputy Organiser, Prosper Tirivacho, and six others were injured as a result of the attacks.
There were also violent clashes after Zanu-PF youth attempted to disrupt the funeral of Chikita Ngano, an MDC-T member, in Mbare in Harare during the weekend.
The incidences come just weeks after opposition Transform Zimbabwe members were similarly assaulted during a clean-up campaign in Chitungwiza, which is a town about 35 km outside Harare.
ZimRights condemns in the strongest terms these worrying signs and incidences of political violence ahead of the harmonised elections due to be held in 2018.
The playing field and the campaign period is already showing to these incidences of human rights violations, which, if not stopped immediately, point to both an unfree campaign period and election.
The government must enforce the constitution, which expressly provides for non-infringement of citizens’ free enjoyment of the political rights to choose, belong to and campaign for a political party, or cause of one’s choice.
Section 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly provides for these fundamental political rights and calls for the promotion of multi-party democracy, which political violence hinders.
That the country has previously witnessed gross human rights violations directly fuelled by political violence means that all stakeholders, including political parties and law enforcement institutions, must urgently address the recent violations.
The police must enforce the rule of law and arrest the perpetrators of the blatantly criminal actions so that they can be brought before the courts.
Ahead of the forthcoming elections, political parties must restate their commitment to the Code of Conduct and remind their supporters that it is criminal to infringe on other people’s rights to campaign freely.