By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, September 15, 2016 – INDEPENDENT candidate for the Norton parliamentary by-election, Temba Mliswa has pocked fun at the country’s police force which he says has now replaced war veterans as President Robert Mugabe’s biggest backers.
Mliswa told journalists on Wednesday some of his campaigns for the October by-election were being impeded by overzealous police officers.
“The war vets who have clearly spelt out their detest for the way they are being treated have apparently been replaced by the police in Norton,” said Mliswa, founder of the Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy (YARD).
Mliswa, who was ousted as Zanu PF Hurungwe West MP and party provincial chair for Mashonaland West, is among some ruling party bigwigs who were expelled last year for fanning factionalism in the party.
His attempts to regain his seat as an independent candidate during a by-election fell through as Zanu PF deployed heavily in the constituency with wide complaints of voter intimidation from war veterans and other militant party supporters by the former fitness trainer.
Mliswa on Wednesday said he has since written to the police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri asking him to revisit the concerns raised by the Zimbabwe Human Right Commission during the June 2015 Hurungwe West by-election.
Following its investigations in Hurungwe, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission instructed Chihuri to immediately investigate human rights violations which occurred in the Mashonaland West constituency and to ensure that all the perpetrators of violence faced “the full wrath of the law”.
This, the rights commission said then, was “in line with Section 243 1 (h) of the constitution which empowers the ZHRC to direct the Commissioner General of police to investigate cases of suspected criminal violations of human rights or freedoms and to the commission on any such investigations”.
“ZHRC recommends that the Public Services Commission (PSC) improves the training of police officers in investigating and handling human rights and political motivated cases,” the commission said.
Meanwhile, Mliswa says he has been denied media coverage by the state media during his campaigns to return to parliament.
“The state controlled media houses are further not offering me the platform to campaign through their publications as and to have reasonable access to the media.
“Sporadic cases of posters being turn down and members of my campaign team being faced with violence have been reported and we await investigation by the police,” he added.
He however vowed to go all out to clinch the seat, which was left vacant when then MP Chris Mutsvangwa was recently expelled from both the party and parliament for indiscipline.