Human Rights watchdog urges political tolerance ahead of polls
Harare (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) on Thursday called on all election stakeholders to actively promote political tolerance in the build up to next month’s polls.
Zimbabwe will hold combined presidential, parliamentary and local government elections on August 23.
In a statement, the ZHRC, which is mandated to promote, protect and enforce human rights, urged the public to adopt political tolerance, respect divergent views and co-exist in harmony, observing human rights.
It also urged citizens to report threats of violence or acts of violence to police, and praised President Emmerson Mnangagwa for leading calls for peace before, during and after voting.
“We make this statement in support of His Excellence, the President’s repeated call at Zimbabwe’s 43rd Independence Celebrations in April 2023 held in Mount Darwin, at which he urged the nation to remain vigilant, united and preach peace in all families, churches and communities. He promised free, fair and credible elections, free from political violence with the aim to promote democracy,” the ZHRC said.
“In line with its constitutional mandate to promote, protect and enforce human rights, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commissions (ZHRC) as the National Human Rights Institution of Zimbabwe would like to remind the public of their political rights and obligations as we approach the 2023 General Elections,” it added.
The Commission said it was currently observing, assessing and monitoring the human rights situation and freedoms in all provinces as the country gears for the elections as part of its mandate under Section 243(1)(c) of the Constitution.
“In light of the aforesaid, the ZHRC hereby exhorts all political parties to abide by ensuring political tolerance and co-existence among political rivalries to avoid monopoly in their dealings as well as to refrain from victimizing and threatening others;
“To ensure that their members exercise restraint in their activities by promoting political tolerance and diversity of views as well as accepting political pluralism and that their members in garnering support for their candidates desist from advocating and resorting to violence in speech and action and not to use force and threats as that has an effect of violating the rights of other individuals,” the ZHRC said.