ZLHR condemns acts of violence in Kwekwe

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) strongly condemns the acts of violence that took place at a Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) rally on 27 February 2022.

ZLHR urges everyone to shun political violence and all forms of
intolerance towards members of different political parties.

ZLHR also calls upon Zimbabwean authorities to urgently investigate
all incidents of political violence so that perpetrators of the
heinous crimes can be held accountable for their actions.

On 27 February 2022, some suspected Zimbabwe African National Union –
Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) political party youths meted out violence to
supporters of CCC political party, who were gathered for a rally at
Mbizo 4 shopping centre, in Kwekwe.

The violence broke out while the leader of CCC political party,
Advocate Nelson Chamisa, was addressing his supporters in an open
space at the shopping centre. A number of suspected ZANU PF party
followers disguised as CCC party supporters threw stones at the CCC
members, injuring several people in the process. A man was stabbed
multiple times during the skirmish that ensued and he subsequently
lost his life after being admitted at Kwekwe General Hospital.

The deplorable acts of violence by suspected members of the ruling
ZANU PF party are extremely concerning because they threaten
Zimbabwe’s democracy and the rule of law. A thriving democracy depends
on the respect for the fundamental rights of everyone by all members
of society and tolerance towards people who may have differing
political views. Violence is also a threat to the peaceful
co-existence of all Zimbabwean citizens, regardless of their political
opinions, association or background. Violence is also deeply condemned
by international law.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe, in Section 52(a), guarantees everyone
the right to be free from all forms of violence. The Constitution, in
Section 155, also prescribes that electoral processes must be free
from violence. The acts of violence by the suspected ZANU PF party
youths flout these constitutional principles. The targeting of CCC
party supporters by the ruling party’s supporters also demonstrates
the latter’s wanton disregard for the fundamental right to freedom of
assembly and association, which is enshrined in Section 58 of the
Constitution. The unprovoked attacks on the CCC party supporters by
the ZANU PF party youths also infringed the victims’ right to personal
security, human dignity and right to life.

The prosperity of Zimbabwe’s democracy heavily depends upon the
successful prevention of these politically-motivated violent acts.

Therefore, ZLHR calls upon:

•    All members of society to shun political violence and all forms of
intolerance towards members of different political parties;

•    Members of the ruling party to condemn and desist from all violent activities;

•    The authorities to urgently investigate the acts of violence that
took place at the CCC party rally in Kwekwe so that the perpetrators
can be held accountable.

•    The authorities to take concrete measures that are designed to
prevent politically-motivated acts of violence from occurring again in
the future.

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