We demand an end to political violence!

ROHR Zimbabwe is grappling to come to terms with the attempts by the ministry of home affairs to deny the people their legitimate right to hold the government to account and demand transparency through peaceful protests.

It is classic dramatic irony of the most extravagant nature; only one year governing alongside ZANU Pf, an MDC minister of all people elected by the people of Zimbabwe, would be at the part of a controversial alleged move to withdraw a legitimate fundamental right of the people in the backdrop of over a decade protracted struggle for democracy and human rights that has claimed lives of innocent men, women and children.

If there is anything that the MDC can do to stop this madness, is to be truthful about the situation on the ground and put pressure on their defiant partner in government ZANU Pf, to restrain from engaging in violent tendencies. Violence is a destructive force to our national brand; it stands averse to the current peace building efforts, the constitution making process, democratic transitional reforms and the economic recovery efforts to lure investment in the country to resuscitate the economy.

As an organization we view the unthinkable decision to ban protest ahead of the world cup as a criminal fraudulent attempt by the coalition government to create a misleading image of an all-is well in the house approach at the backdrop of growing persecution of victims of political violence, political activist, human rights defenders, and journalist among other mishaps. It is regrettable that we have new incidences of growing cases of violence and destruction of property in the grassroots communities around the country particularly in Mashonaland central, Mashonaland west and Manicaland.

ROHR Zimbabwe’s growing impatience towards the outbreaks of violence targeted against vulnerable victims of political violence across the country has reached intolerable levels. In the wake of rampant allegations of a partisan police, that is reluctant to guarantee the security, safety and the observance of the rule of law, it is only through protest that the voices of victims of violence can be amplified and heard as an attempt to advocate for redress.

Understanding that the attempt to ban peaceful protest, if left unchallenged, sets in motion a bad precedence that people’s democratic fundamental rights can be withdrawn at the whim of politicians and government officials.

ROHR Zimbabwe therefore intends to hold a peaceful march to call upon the coalition government to make concrete steps to ensure that violence is ceased forthwith.The coalition government should address the plight of victims of political violence in the country. Concerned that the infrastructure that caused untold suffering among innocent people in the

2008 elections is still intact and so far its existence has inspired the continued harassment of victims of political violence. We have received reports of not less than 50 families so far, forced to flee their homes due to systematic intimidation campaigns by youth militia and ZANU Pf supporters.

We reiterate our position that human rights are not gifts bestowed on the people at the pleasure of governments but they are universal and should apply to all. We seek to engage in a peaceful march to highlight the following demands to the coalition government.

. The security of victims of political violence should be guaranteed

regardless of political affiliation especially during the constitutional outreach scheduled to kick start very soon.

. Perpetrators of violence should be stopped from committing further

crimes from the ones still lurking unaccounted from the past eras stretching decades back to post independence. If left free they will continue to haunt communities, cause chaos being the chief drivers of impunity and deal a blow on the rule of law.

. The police should stamp up efforts to arrest all those who commit

crimes in the name of political patronage. No one is immune or above the law.

. The coalition government needs to make serious investigations on the

allegations of threats of widespread organized violence by ZANU Pf

after the world cup in South Africa.

. The coalition government should promote a culture of truth telling

to set a foundation for a credible national healing process that is built on transitional justice.

.The organ on National Healing should be dissolved if its not producing tangible results. Its continued presence is a burden on the taxpayers bill.

For Peace, Justice and Freedom

Post published in: Politics

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