Civil Society groups have condemned the politically motivated violence that has rocked Bikita West constituency ahead of the weekend By-elections, a move which they say is a slap in the face of free, fair and credible elections.
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Spokesperson and candidate, Madock Chivasa, and his election agent, Thomas Mudzamiri were reportedly assaulted by suspected Zanu PF youths and army personnel who were driving a vehicle belonging to Zanu PF Marondera legislator, Lawrence Katsiru.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) called on the perpetrators to be brought to book.
“ZimRights is worried by the continued electoral malpractices in the Bikita by-election and all recent by-election, and the implication of the acts of violence as a precursor to the forthcoming 2018 elections.
“The calculated act of political violence by an organised hit squad wearing the ruling party Zanu Pf’s regalia is a slap in the face of the constitutional requirement for free, fair and credible elections.
“The condemnable and criminal assault was reportedly carried out by about 13 people wearing Zanu-PF regalia around Nyika Growth Point at about 10 pm in the evening of Tuesday, January 17, 2017,” reads the ZimRights statement.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CIZC) Youths Committee also condemned the attack of NCA members calling for regional intervention in an effort to serve the situation, appealing to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to disqualify the Zanu PF candidate.
“The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Youth committee has strengthened its call for regional intervention on Zimbabwe following the recent barbaric attack on a Parliamentary candidate and an upsurge of violence in Bikita West.
“The role of SADC and African Union will help to monitor ZANU PF shenanigans that are already in full gear to reap from violence and intimidation by using state resources. The young people in Zimbabwe under the banner of Crisis Coalition strongly condemn the behavior by known ZANU PF militias who have pounced on Murdock Chivasa, the NCA Parliamentary candidate for Bikita West and his manager Thomas Mudzamiri.
“This is unacceptable and must lead to the ZANU PF candidate being disqualified from this by election. This thuggish behavior by ZANU PF is barbaric and must be condemned by all right thinking Zimbabweans including the Bikita West voters. CIZC Youth committee already finds the results of the election to be held this Saturday 21st of January 2017 to be a sham,” CIZC said.
Election Resource Centre called on ZEC and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to investigate the matter.
“The ERC calls upon the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission whose function is “to support and entrench human rights and democracy” as stipulated in Chapter 12 section 233 (a) of the Constitution to immediately investigate the matter and take appropriate action as provided for in the Code of Conduct for Elections.
The ERC urges the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) as an institution responsible for enforcement of the law to ensure that the arrests of the perpetrators of violence in Bikita West are done expeditiously,”
Bikita West fell vacant after the conviction of Munyaradzi Kereke on charges of rape. By elections to fill the vacant seat are set for the 21st of January 2017. Chivasa will battle it out with Kudakwashe Gopo of the Zimbabwe People First, Beauty Chabaya of Zanu PF and Heya Shoko an independent candidate and Terrence Makumbo of Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe.
Election Resource Centre (ERC)Madock ChivasaNational Constitutional AssemblyThomas MudzamiriZESNZimRights.