Harare (New Ziana)-The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) on Wednesday condemned reports of violent clashes at ongoing by -election campaign rallies saying violence is a violation of political rights and freedoms.
This follows the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party Kwekwe campaign rally at the weekend which was marred by acts of violence which left one dead and scores injured and cars damaged.
In a statement, the commission urged political parties to be tolerant and peaceful.
“As the country prepares for the by-elections to be held on the 26th of March 2022, the ZHRC has noted with great concern the recent reports of violent clashes at rallies and calls upon all political parties and relevant stakeholders to shun all forms of politically motivated violence. Section 67 (2) (b) of the Constitution guarantees the right to campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause of own choice and therefore the Commission strongly condemns all political violence as it is a violation of political rights and freedoms.
“In addition to causing loss of life, political violence invariably results in bodily injury or harm, destruction of property and erosion of the culture and principles of democracy.
“The Commission therefore unreservedly condemns these incidents of politically motivated violence and calls on all political parties involved in the electoral process to show restraint and refrain from provocative conduct or incitement of supporters to commit acts of violence,” it said.
The commission also condemned the use of inflammatory language by some political actors during campaign rallies, which it says causes tension amongst members of various political parties.
“The high level of political intolerance which has resulted in escalation of
interparty and intra-party violence ahead of the by-elections and the 2023
harmonised elections is disturbing and unacceptable in a democratic and
free society that Zimbabwe is.
“The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission therefore calls upon all political leaders to immediately de-escalate tension and re-engage constructively, in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe, with a view to agree on the modalities of conducting inclusive, free, fair, transparent, and credible elections,” said the commission.
ZHRC urged law enforcement agencies to impartially enforce the law .
“ZHRC further calls on the law enforcement agencies to uphold the human rights and freedoms of all citizens, including freedom of assembly, association, and expression,” it said.