Group petitions parliament over surge in political violence

HARARE – Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) has petitioned parliament to take a stand against the resurgence of politically motivated violence in the country amid signs of a bloody campaign period for the 2023 elections.

The petition contains grievances of 5 000 citizens who have been victims of politically motivated violence in the past.

In its petition, the peace based NGO said political violence has been worsened by “abuse of traditional leaders’ authority, and intolerant hate speech by political and society leaders”.

Politically motivated violence has been on the increase since the March 26 by-elections resulting in cases of both death and injury to some of the victims.

The opposition CCC is up in arms over what it sees as targeted attacks on its leaders and supporters by militant Zanu PF supporters and suspected state agents.

HZT said it is concerned that perpetrators of violence went unpunished while the callous acts often resulted in loss of lives and livelihoods, over and above endangering national peace, unity and harmony.

“The increase in cases of politically motivated violence, intimidation, hate speech and intolerance which has claimed lives, property and livelihoods of citizens across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe has become a regular occurrence.

“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.

“These ills, if left unaddressed, threaten to tear apart the prospects of a peaceful, tolerant general election in 2023,” read parts of the petition.

On Tuesday, political violence erupted in Bulawayo during a well-attended public hearing on the reintroduction of the National Youth Service, after suspected Zanu PF activists attacked CCC activist Eric Gono for objecting to the reintroduction of the youth service.

The public has blamed state institutions for failing to exercise their constitutional authority to stop the violence amid opposition accusations Zanu PF was abusing its proximity to the state as the governing authority to protect violence perpetrators.

HZT demanded in the petition for parliament to summon state institutions such as the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Zimbabwe Republic Police as well as traditional leaders to hear how they intended to put a stop politically motivated violence.

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