ERC appeal to authorities over political violence
By Staff Reporter
THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has urged police and other relevant authorities to take decisive action on continued acts of violence that have marred the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise in which Zanu PF supporters continue being fingered in the skirmishes.
In a statement, the electoral watchdog called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chaired by Justice Rita Makarau (pictured) to pull rank and suspend electoral processes in areas affected by violence.
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must be prepared, dependent on the severity of the incidents of the human right violations, to suspend all electoral processes limited to the areas affected, until free participation of citizens in the voter registration exercise has been guaranteed in line with Section 155 of the Constitution,” ERC said in a statement Wednesday.
Zimbabwe gears for watershed elections next year with veteran leader President Robert Mugabe keen on ending his lengthy political career on a high.
The Zimbabwean leader is set to contest the polls at 94, perhaps becoming the oldest ever presidential candidate in living memory.
Likewise, he has pulled all the stops to ensure poll victory, as his opponents all firm up to stop his continued stranglehold on local politics with poll defeat.
The situation has generated a tense atmosphere which has seen violent clashes during the voter registration process with Zanu PF supporters continuously fingered in acts of intimidation.
There has been little to no action at all from the country’s electoral authority, often accused of being an appendage of the ruling Zanu PF party.
The ERC, which has taken a central role in monitoring the often country’s often chaotic electoral circle, also urged State institutions to live up to their duties as enshrined in the national constitution to ensure a flawless poll.
“State institutions especially the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Zimbabwe Human Rights Commissions (ZHRC) and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) among other institutions to uphold the law and protect human rights if elections in Zimbabwe are to be consistent with Section 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution which insists on the conduct of elections that are peaceful, free and fair,” said ERC,
The group urged authorities to also activate special investigative committees in line with the country’s electoral laws in efforts to quell continued disturbances.
ERC also called on ZEC to live up to its mandate through compelling all political parties to sign up to a Code of Conduct of Political Parties that would bind them to vows of peace during what is set to be a turbulent run-up to the 2018 elections.
President Mugabe’s Zanu PF has often denied party followers were involved in any alleged acts of violence against opponents.