Reign in rowdy ZANU PF supporters
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition notes with concern the escalation of cases of violence and intimidation perpetrated against innocent civilians by ZANU PF supporters and calls upon the inclusive government through law enforcement agents to reign in the perpetrators who are causing unnecessary tensions and political instability across the country. The Coalition further calls upon the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to immediately intervene in Zimbabwe and urge the power-sharing government to speed up democratic reforms including security sector reforms.
In events reminiscent of the 2010 disturbances of constitutional outreach meetings, ZANU PF supporters violently disrupted public hearings on the Human Rights Commission Bill in Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Mutare and Harare demanding that the Commission should try cases of human rights abuses which occurred post 2008. The demands by ZANU PF, who are the main perpetrators of human rights violations since independence, are evidently calculated at masking atrocities committed by the ZANU PF government and its supporters. Judging from past history, if the ZANU PF supporters are allowed to continue with such attacks, the country will slide back to the June 2008 period when more than 150 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters were murdered while thousands were displaced in post election violence.
Of greater concern however, is the continued police inaction exhibited despite continued calls by civil society for security sector reforms including urging police to operate in a non- partisan and professional manner. Over the weekend, when rowdy ZANU PF supporters attacked civilians and Members of Parliament during public hearings on the Human Rights Commission Bill, the police failed to contain the situation with Harare Police Spokesperson, Inspector James Sabau claiming that they were unprepared for the riotous crowd. It is surprising that when a peaceful demonstration is staged, riot police pounce on protesters in their numbers yet when Parliamentarians and citizens who are exercising their freedom of expression are attacked, the police are 'ill- prepared'. The police have a constitutional obligation to protect citizen's rights and interests and to apprehend violators of the law yet they continue acting against the law, choosing to 'protect' perpetrators of violence instead.
The actions by ZANU PF and failure by its leadership to condemn the violence and call for the arrest of perpetrators goes against the letter and spirit of the GPA and the Livingstone SADC Troika Summit resolutions which called for "an immediate end to politically motivated violence".
In light of the developments highlighted above, The Coalition demands the following;
1. That the power-sharing government publicly condemns and demands the halting of all cases of political violence
2. That the power-sharing government reign in Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri for failing to protect citizens and arraigning of those responsible for the rights abuses.
3. Calls on the ZANU PF leadership to dismantle the terror machinery built over the past years which continue to wreck havoc, threatening the little gains achieved by the Inclusive government in the past 2 years.
The Coalition also calls upon SADC to;
1. Immediately intervene in Zimbabwe to avert imminent implosion and collapse of the power-sharing government caused mainly by partisan securocrats who are not interested in genuine democratic reform. The Coalition calls on SADC Facilitator His Excellency President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to remain steadfast in his push for a clear elections roadmap with benchmarks, timelines and one which addresses the problem of partisan police and CIO and the military involvement in electoral and political processes.
Issued by: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
1. Phillip Pasirayi, Spokesperson, Mobile: +263 772697782
2. Jonah Gokova, Chairperson, Mobile: +263 772214757
3. McDonald Lewanika, Director, Mobile: +263 772127398