CCJPZ appealed to Zanu PF to restrain its Chipangano militia

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) has appealed to President Mugabe's Zanu PF to restrain its Chipangano militia and to stop violence and respect human rights and human dignity of the people who live in Mbare.

The CCJP, which has compiled a damning dossier on the escalating rights violations in the dirt-poor ghetto, said the spiralling violence in Mbare, which it said started at the beginning of this year, was largely political.

"The organising points have been Carter House and Paget House in Mbare," said Alois Chaumba, CCJP director in Harare. "This area is close to a place where some people, especially those who are HIV positive, collect their anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).

But the place has become so unapproachable and inhospitable that some of the victims of violence are now afraid to go and collect their drugs. Systematic about the violence is that it is imported; most people behind the violence are not permanent residents in the area, but have been ‘shipped’ from other areas."

The CCJP is a non-partisan Catholic Organisation that promotes justice and peace. The CCJP said Zanu PF was pursuing a negative and intolerant election campaign that recommends the vanquishing of dissenting voices through violence.

"The Commission believes that diversity is a positive value that can be used for the betterment of the country, but it seems we are destroying that diversity and forcing people to follow certain political positions," Chaumba said.

"The victims of violence say they are being punished for their democratic rights of participating in political associations of their choice. But our experience has shown that politicians will never win votes by beating and killing their perceived opponents.

The best way of winning votes is by promoting human rights and human dignity. How, for example, can a person (and his family, relatives etc.) who dislocated his jaw as a result of political violence would vote for the political party responsible for dislocating it?"

The CCJP said in extreme cases, some families in Mbare supporting the MDC have lost their houses to people who the Zanu PF thugs.

"Buying and (re)selling opportunities, some of the most forms of survival strategies in Mbare have been availed on partisan basis.

Vending positions, flea market tables have also been politicised," Chaumba said. "All this is happening amidst tense, but implicit political violence.

Families have been broken by the violence, and some men have to go and see their families at night to avoid being caught by the politically dogmatic groups. Is this the freedom that claimed gallant daughters and sons of the soil during the liberation struggle?"

Chaumba said the political violence in Mbare undermines the principle of human dignity, "the human worthiness that we derive from God who loved us first and created us in his own image."

"It is instructive to consider every ‘neighbour without exception as another self, taking into account first of all his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity’.

Every political, economic, social, scientific and cultural programme must be inspired by the awareness of the primacy of each human being over society. CCJP therefore advises the politicians, political parties and the youths to desist from violence in Mbare to enable citizens to live their normal lives."

Post published in: Zimbabwe News

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