ERC, partners urge stop in poll based violence

By Nkosana Dlamini

THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has joined forces with few other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to call for, chief among their demands, a stop in election related violence linked to the ruling Zanu PF party.

The CSOs include Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), Women Institute in Leadership (Wild), National Youth For Development Trust (NYDT) an Christian Alliance.

In a statement, the groups hailed the gains registered so far during the biometric voter registration (bvr) exercise which has seen over 5,2 million locals registered for elections this year, with over 260 000 registered during the mop up exercise which started January 10 and was set to end February 8, this year.

They further urged government to align the Electoral Act with the national constitution and for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to come clean on key timelines in terms of their activities.

But top of their concerns was continued poll based violations which still manifest despite repeated vows by incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa to deliver a violence free poll.

“The CSOs note with concern continued failure by ZEC, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to effectively address election related violence and intimidation associated with the demand for voter registration slips’ serial numbers by traditional leaders and the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu PF).

“The CSOs are extremely disturbed by recent reports of election related violence,” said the NGOs.

The calls by the groups follow last week’s attack by suspected Zanu PF supporters on National People’s Party (NPP) President Joice Mujuru and her followers during a visibility walk in Harare’s Glen Norah high density suburb.

Zanu PF has moved to condemn the incident but no arrests have since been made so far.

The groups called on authorities to step up to the plate and prevent similar acts as the country nears the crucial polls.

“…Immediately investigate and bring to book political players involved in politically motivated attacks and continued demand for voter registration serial numbers.

“ZEC, ZRP, and the ZHRC must remain guided by Section 133J and H of the Electoral Act and ensure that perpetrators of election related violence and intimidation face the full wrath of the law,” said the CSOs.

The ERC and its partners further expressed dismay at that key electoral processes such as bvr continued being administered in the absence of the alignment of the Electoral Act with the country’s constitution.

They however hailed government efforts to allow so-called aliens and other disadvantaged groups to take part in the polls even though some 6000 prospective voters from among “aliens” have been turned away for failure to produce long birth certificates.

Staff Reporter

The author Staff Reporter