Heal Zimbabwe condemns intimidation of voters in Mwenezi East

Heal Zimbabwe expresses grave concern over reports of intimidation of citizens recorded in Mwenezi East constituency ahead of the 08 April 2017 by election. On 8 January 2017, ZANU PF ward 4 Chairperson, Tobias Mahowa, held a meeting at Chimbudzi business Centre. At the meeting, he encouraged people to register to vote as soon as voter registration for the by election commences.

Mahowa also announced that as soon as people finish registering, they should all proceed to his homestead and show him their registration slips. He also pointed out that if people defy his orders, ZANU PF was going to unleash a terror campaign on anyone who defies the order. On the same day, In ward 2, ZANU PF youths led by their ward Vice Chairperson, Ezra Mashindi moved around the ward threatening people that on 15 February 2017 they should all go to the ward centre and purchase ZANU PF membership cards that cost $3. The youths announced that anyone who defies the order will not receive any food aid that comes into the ward.

In ward 5, ZANU PF ward chairperson, Pinias Shoko also addressed a rally at Chingani Primary school on 8 February 2017 and warned that if people fail to register to vote in the coming by election, ZANU PF was going to unleash violence on people. Shoko also announced that he has already deployed a team of ZANU PF youths in the ward to compile names of people and their identity numbers so that he can monitor when the voter registration process commences.

Heal Zimbabwe notes that such practices and threats ahead of the by election, are a total disregard of constitutional provision 67 which provides for political rights. The said provision states that “every citizen has the right to form, join and to participate in the activities of a political party of their choice”. Section  156 of the constitution also compel Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to eliminate electoral violence and other electoral malpractices.

Heal Zimbabwe implores the Government of Zimbabwe(G.O.Z) to pursue the fulfillment  of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development by calling for peace, calm and tolerance ahead of the Mwenezi East constituency by election. Heal Zimbabwe will implement several peace awareness programs in the constituency in order to encourage peaceful participation. Through its resident trained human rights monitors in every ward, Heal Zimbabwe shall, in collaboration with Election Resource Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association(ZimRights)  continue to monitor the electoral environment, engage with relevant constitutional bodies and institutions right from registration process, campaign, voting day and post-election processes in order to encourage  free, fair and peaceful elections.

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