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Zanu PF Told To Walk The Talk On Anti-Violence Pleas

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By Moses Chibaya

Harare, June 18, 2017 - POLL watchdog, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has commended Zanu PF on its pronouncement of peace, it however, urged the revolutionary party to walk the talk ahead of the make or break 2018 general elections.

"The Election Resource Centre (ERC) applauds sentiments from the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu PF) spokesperson Honourable Simon Khaya Moyo in which he denounced (Newsday 12 June 2017) political violence as the nation gears for the watershed 2018 general elections. However, the party must walk the talk and continue to propagate the information to the grassroots," ERC executive director Tawanda Chimhini said in a statement.

In the past, Zanu PF party has been fingered in several incidences of violence.

The ERC said the recent remarks need to be backed by concrete mechanisms through which the Zanu PF party "intends to inculcate a culture of tolerance amongst its members who usually resort to violence".

Chimhini urged all the political parties to encourage their members respect and enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates.

"The ERC urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to respect and enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates whose sole purpose is to promote conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections and a climate of tolerance in which electioneering activities may take place without fear or coercion, intimidation or reprisals," he said.

Chimhini, a prominent rights and democracy campaigner of more than 10 years, said mechanisms that curtail violence must be put in place.

"The Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates is a critical instrument in fostering political tolerance. Mechanisms must however be put in place to curb violence and make perpetrators of violence accountable for their undesirable actions.

"In that light, the ERC expects political parties not only to publicly denounce violence but also put in place stringent measures to reprimand perpetrators of violence within their structures," Chimhini said. 

He denounced violence insisting that it must not be tolerated in Zimbabwe adding that Section 52 (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that "every person has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sources."

"Violence of any nature by whoever is totally unacceptable and must not be tolerated in Zimbabwe," Chimhini said.

The ERC urged the nation at large to maintain peace at the same time calling youths not to be abused by politicians by politicians as instigators of violence.

Chimhini also appealed to police, the National Prosecution Authority, the Zimbabwe Judicial Service and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission "who are obligated by the Electoral Act to contribute invariably towards measures against politically motivated violence, to take their constitutional mandate seriously and ensure mechanisms for eliminating violence are upheld."

He added that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), subject to Section 156(c) of the constitution must ensure that appropriate systems and mechanisms are put in place and effective to eliminate all forms of electoral violence.

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