By Own Correspondent| The Harare Residents Trust has condemned the violence which rocked Harare yesterday adding that political party leaders should promote peace and tolerance regardless of their divergent views.
Below is the full statement by the HRT:
The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) denounces all forms of violence by protesters and State security over election results. The organisation considers life as sacrosanct, never to be shed for political power, or any other reason.
There is nothing at all that justifies the wanton destruction of Council property, in particular the cement benches built along Julius Nyerere Way and Jason Moyo Avenue over electoral disputes.
The reality of the situation is that after all the violence, Zimbabweans will be Zimbabweans, living in the same country, needing the same basic essential services like water, safety, security, shelter, and equal opportunities.
As the nation waits for the Presidential results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the HRT urges political leaders to be patient, and allow the due processes of the law to take precedence over their personal and party interests.
Given these latest developments, and with the sad, unjustified loss of lives, the Government of Zimbabwe has a Constitutional duty to protect and defend the rights of the citizens. The Opposition should rein in their members by preaching peace and unity to minimise conflict in the country.
The destruction of property by protestors is unwarranted, and illegal. Genuine protests should be held in peace without infringing on the rights of other citizens. Reports that motorists and other people were forced to join in the protests, if true, are dangerous for Zimbabwe.
The HRT recognises that conflict dimensions, if not addressed properly will lead to different forms of violence, and direct violence which was witnessed in the Central Business District (CBD) will result in further confrontations and simmering bitterness among the citizens.
Those with the power to control their political party supporters should immediately do so and avoid further damage to property and loss of precious lives.
The negative peace that remains now is not right, and all must preserve our peace as a nation. The HRT urges the Church and fellow civil society organisations to desist from taking partisan sides in this electoral dispute over the alleged delay in announcing the presidential results.
Instead civil society groups and the Church should take an active role in educating citizens on the processes to be followed in the release of Presidential results.
The HRT continues to closely follow developments across the suburbs and will as a matter of priority expose and report to the responsible authorities any citizen who coerces others to do what they are unwilling to do.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has a Constitutional duty to pronounce results of the Ward Council, House of Assembly and Presidential elections within the legally prescribed period.
The Commission has to realise that the more they withhold the release of election results, the more dangerous it becomes for the preservation of peace in volatile communities where the majority lives.
Already there is structural violence where the suffering masses have to struggle to access their money from banks, there are water shortages in 55 percent of households in Harare, refuse collection is almost non-existent in most communities, unemployed youths and adults are idle, and the life of the majority is in destitution. The Government has a duty to provide all these for its citizens.