By- The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has condemned the violence that took place at a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) rally held in Kwekwe on Sunday.
The violence resulted in the death of one person.
In a statement, the lawyers said:
ZLHR CONDEMNS ACTS OF VIOLENCE IN KWEKWE
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) strongly condemns the acts of violence that took place at a Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) rally on 27 February 2022.
ZLHR urges everyone to shun political violence and all forms of intolerance towards members of different political parties.
ZLHR also calls upon Zimbabwean authorities to urgently investigate all incidents of political violence so that perpetrators of the heinous crimes can be held accountable for their actions.
On 27 February 2022, some suspected Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) political party youths meted out violence to supporters of CCC political party, who were gathered for a rally at Mbizo 4 shopping centre, in Kwekwe.
The violence broke out while the leader of CCC political party, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, was addressing his supporters in an open space at the shopping centre. A number of suspected ZANU PF party followers disguised as CCC party supporters threw stones at the CCC members, injuring several people in the process. A man was stabbed multiple times during the skirmish that ensued and he subsequently lost his life after being admitted at Kwekwe General Hospital.
The deplorable acts of violence by suspected members of the ruling ZANU PF party are extremely concerning because they threaten Zimbabwe’s democracy and the rule of law. A thriving democracy depends on the respect for the fundamental rights of everyone by all members of society and tolerance towards people who may have differing political views. Violence is also a threat to the peaceful co-existence of all Zimbabwean citizens, regardless of their political opinions, association or background. Violence is also deeply condemned by international law.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe, in Section 52(a), guarantees everyone the right to be free from all forms of violence. The Constitution, in Section 155, also prescribes that electoral processes must be free from violence. The acts of violence by the suspected ZANU PF party youths flout these constitutional principles. The targeting of CCC party supporters by the ruling party’s supporters also demonstrates the latter’s wanton disregard for the fundamental right to freedom of assembly and association, which is enshrined in Section 58 of the Constitution. The unprovoked attacks on the CCC party supporters by the ZANU PF party youths also infringed the victims’ right to personal security, human dignity and right to life.
The prosperity of Zimbabwe’s democracy heavily depends upon the successful prevention of these politically-motivated violent acts.
Therefore, ZLHR calls upon:
• All members of society to shun political violence and all forms of intolerance towards members of different political parties;
• Members of the ruling party to condemn and desist from all violent activities;
• The authorities to urgently investigate the acts of violence that took place at the CCC party rally in Kwekwe so that the perpetrators can be held accountable.
• The authorities to take concrete measures that are designed to prevent politically-motivated acts of violence from occurring again in the future.