Global condemnation of ZANU PFs ongoing violence campaign

election_violenceGlobal calls for an end to ZANU PF sponsored violence, dominated news reports on Zimbabwe on Thursday, a day before the second anniversary of the signing of the Global Political Agreement. Civic groups and foreign envoys blamed ZANU PF for the chaos and said the police were politically biased, but the state run press published a denial.

On Monday ZANU PF youths looted shops and destroyed property in Harares central business district, reportedly targeting foreign owned businesses. And last week ZANU PF thugs attacked MDC offices and set fire to the home of an MDC councillor in Mbare. Hundreds were also displaced in ongoing violence in Mbare and many hospitalized for injuries suffered in the attacks. There have also been dozens of arrests and torture of MDC officials and supporters, as the violence escalated and spread to urban and rural areas countrywide.

Envoys from the U.S. and the U.K. released statements condemning the chaos and calling for peace. Meanwhile the civic group, Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), urged the principles in the unity government to implement the GPA. In Zimbabwe, strong criticism of ZANU PF came from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and also from the Restoration of Human Rights.

The United States Embassy in Harare said the U.S. was alarmed by the recent violence and made it clear that those responsible were youths and opportunists affiliated with elements of ZANU-PF.”

“Such unlawful actions violate the global political agreement and demonstrate that the undermining of the rule of law has not changed fundamentally,” the U.S. embassy said.

UK envoy Mark Canning also condemned the recent attacks, saying: It is this sort of unchecked violence- ignored by the police, and not imaginary sanctions, which does untold damage to Zimbabwes reputation abroad and makes it harder for real friends such as the UK to help attract the investment the country so badly needs.

Meanwhile, assistant commissioner and police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, used the state-run Herald newspaper to deny allegations of police bias. In a statement published on Thursday, he blamed the MDC for the violence.

The civic group Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) responded immediately to the assistant commissioners comments, saying he sounded like he was talking for ZANU PF.

Ronald Mureverwi of ROHR told SW Radio Africa that the police should approach all incidents in a transparent manner and avoid partisan speech. He said: The culture of impunity is spiralling because the police are not dealing with the real problem. Perpetrators of violence continue to roam freely.

A statement issued by ROHR blasted Bvudzijena, saying: It is shocking for the police commissioner to speak as a spokesperson of one political party instead of approaching crime independently without discrimination to restore order and equality before the law.

We therefore appeal to the GPA principals and to the police at large to take timely action to curb the ongoing incidence of violence before it erupts into a wave that can engulf the whole country and rekindle the sad memories of the painful legacy of 2008 crisis.

The violence has overtaken all other issues in the country yet police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, reportedly failed to turn up for a meeting to discuss the violence with the two co-Home Affairs Ministers on Monday. The Ministers went ahead and had the meeting, but according to Voice of America news, they did not agree on who was responsible for the disturbances.

The GPA was supposed to usher in a period of national healing and redevelopment, but mobs of ZANU PF youths, war vets and soldiers have waged a brutal campaign against MDC officials and supporters. Many issues remain unresolved and more divisions have appeared within the MDC.

Unfortunately, it is the ordinary Zimbabweans who continue to suffer, while political squabbling diverts attention from the real issues.

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