The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it is concerned with recent cases of politically motivated violence reported in the media which resulted in the loss of life.
In a statement, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said the commission condemns and abhors the acts of violence that negatively impact the electoral environment ahead of the 26 March by-elections. Said Chigumba:
“It is disheartening to note that such acts of violence are taking place notwithstanding the Commission’s plea at a recently held Multi-party Liaison Meeting where political parties were advised to adhere to the Political Parties Code of Conduct set out in the Fourth Schedule of the Electoral Act and to which their candidates made an undertaking to comply with when they submitted their nomination papers.
“The commission would like to reiterate its calls for tolerance by all political parties and election stakeholders and urges all political parties and candidates to adhere to the code of conduct.”
Chigumba called on all political parties to instruct their members and supporters to comply with the code and applicable electoral laws and to urge their members to desist from intimidation, violence and other illegal activities or offences.
The ZEC boss also implored political parties to discipline their office-bearers, members, supporters and candidates who contravene the Code and the laws of the land.
Chigumba advised victims of electoral and politically motivated violence to report such cases to the Police and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for investigation and redress.
On Saturday, police in Gokwe used teargas, water cannon and batons to disperse a lawful gathering of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters in the town.
The opposition supporters were waiting to be addressed by the party’s president Nelson Chamisa.
The following day, on Sunday, a CCC supporter was stabbed to death while more than a dozen others were injured when suspected armed ZANU PF activists stormed a rally at Mbizo 4 Shopping Centre in Kwekwe.