Courts to clamp down on election violence – Judge

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Gweru (New Ziana) – The judiciary takes a dim view of politically motivated violence and will harshly deal with perpetrators of such in the courts, a senior judge said here on Monday.

Opening the 2023 legal year for Gweru High Court, Justice Martin Makonese said the judiciary expects peace to continue to prevail as the country prepares for general elections around mid-year.

Often, elections are accompanied by incidents of politically motivated violence involving opposing party supporters, both before and after polling.

But some of the purported incidents were in the past found to have been faked by opposition parties to try and creditably cry foul after losing the election.

In other cases, the same parties would deliberately stir up the violence to tarnish the image of both the government and country in the eyes of the international community.

“In terms of section 164 of the constitution, the independence of the judiciary is guaranteed. To that extent, any person who shall disturb the general peace that is prevailing must be warned that the courts are ready to deal decisively with those minded causing violence, chaos or any other such conduct designed to disturb the peace in the country,” Justice Makonese said.

“Those members of the public who shall violate the laws of the country will only have themselves to blame. It is important to underscore the fact that peace and security are at the core of any functional democracy. Any political contestation among political parties must be done within the confines of the laws of Zimbabwe. Political violence has no place in a democratic state,” he added.

Already, ahead of the elections later in the year, there have been isolated cases of inter-party violence that have been reported, though all minor in scale.

New Ziana

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