Gonese calls on police to maintain peace

The police’s reluctance to provide security at Electoral Amendment Bill public hearings has been cited as the reason for political violence, by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, legal and Constitutional Affairs.

A number of meetings have been disrupted by suspected Zanu (PF) supporters, but no one has been arrested.

“The police did not play their part. They were informed well in advance of these meetings and are aware of the problems which the committee has been faced with in the past. But they did not come out to ensure that peace prevails. So in the absence of the police it will be difficult for anyone to carry out the arrests. If they had been there to see the commotions which we went through they would be in a position to identify the culprits,” said MDC-T Chief whip Innocent Gonese last week.

“But I am happy to say that at least in Harare where we previously had the worst of the disturbances, we have had a good and peaceful meeting,” he added. The Bill proposes a number of changes to the existing electoral law with a view to promoting free and fair elections. It restricts police involvement in the electoral process and addresses political violence. It also grants wide powers to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to run elections, obliging it to announce all results within five days of the ballot.

The Harare meeting was in agreement on several issues which had previously caused clashes between MDC-T and Zanu (PF) supporters.

Some of the issues which all the people raised and agreed on include, the inclusion of Diaspora voting, equal accesses to the public media by all political parties, denouncing political violence, and capitalisation of the Zimbabwe electoral Commission.

There was however no consensus on the invitation of observers with those from Zanu (PF) saying the European Union should not observe the country’s elections unless they lift targeted sanctions on Zanu (PF) officials.

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