Chiwundura By Election Human Rights Violations Update

Introduction.

Kizito Chivamba

A by election to select a new Member of Parliament for Chiwundura Constituency has been set for 15 July 2017. The plebiscite comes after the death of Kizito Chivamba, and four political parties shall take part in the election. These are Brown Ndlovu- ZANU PF, Takudzwa Guzete- National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Brighton Mudzwiti FreeZim Congress and Webster Zulu- Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe (PDZ). Heal Zimbabwe is monitoring the environment in Chiwundura through its trained resident Human Rights Monitors. Below are some of the human rights violations recorded:

Ward 1-Intimidation.

On 18 June 2017, a group of ZANU  PF youth carried door to door visits in Zvompumbu village threatening people with evictions if ZANU PF does not get 100% in the by election results. They also indicated that everyone in the ward who is above 18 years must register and vote for ZANU PF or risk being evicted from the ward.

Ward 12- Partisan Conduct by Traditional Leaders.

On the 19th of June 2017, Chief Chiwundura addressed a gathering at a funeral in Gandira village where he urged everyone present to vote resoundingly for ZANU PF in the by election. The Chief went further to instruct the ward 12 Councillor, Mr Cuthbert Ushe to introduce the ZANU PF candidate for the by election, Brown Ndlovu. The Chief’s actions violate the Constitution which clearly stipulates that traditional leaders should be non- partisan.

Ward 10- Intimidation.

A group of ZANU PF women conducted a door to door exercise in Kurima Kwakanaka village on the 19th of June urging people to vote for ZANU PF or risk being denied food aid. They threatened the people that if ZANU PF fails to garner a 100% electoral win, they will be evicted from the area.

Ward 10- Partisan Distribution of Aid.

In May 2017 in Kurima Kwakanaka village, Sunny Chitarata a youth officer and Clever Tarisa the ZANU PF Ward Chairperson denied opposition party supporters food aid. The two removed the names of all opposition supporters from the beneficiaries list and indicated that they will only receive the aid after they renounce their opposition membership. They also forced everyone present at the distribution exercise to chant ZANU PF slogans.

Ward 14-Partisan Distribution of Aid.

Two Village heads, Gideon Mputa and Otilia Sileba from Mlizu Farm are denying non ZANU PF supporters food aid. The two who are distributing rice from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare are only giving the aid to those who would have produced ZANU PF membership cards. The village heads openly indicated that the food aid was meant for ZANU PF supporters only. The distribution process  started on the 1st of June 2017 and is ongoing.

Ward 9- Partisan Distribution of Aid.

Mr Mupunga, a ZANU PF Youth Chairperson tasked to distribute food aid by his party on 18 June 2017 removed names of opposition party supporters from the list. One of the victim is Mandlankosi Dhlodhlo an MDC T supporter whose name was removed on the 18th of June 2017 during a food distribution exercise. The food aid is coming from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

Ward 9-Partisan Distribution of Aid.

Irvine Mapute, a youth officer and Rosina Mupuma a ZANU PF activist denied opposition supporters food aid during a food distribution meeting in May 2017. The two women distributed the rice to those who had ZANU PF membership cards only.

Conclusion.

Heal Zimbabwe calls upon all electoral stakeholders to put all necessary mechanisms that ensure the Chiwundura by election is held in a peaceful, free and fair manner. Independent Commissions that support Democracy such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) must play their  part through investigating and acting upon reported cases of human rights violations as this promotes a level playing field. HZT also calls upon the Police to bring to book all perpetrators of political intolerance and violence. The organisation also urges the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to put in place mechanisms that ensure the by election meet regional and international standards of credible elections including fully operationalising section 133H&J of the Electoral Act which provides for peaceful and swift electoral dispute resolution.

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