Zim Human Rights Group Sets Up Peace Committees

Zimbabwe Victims of Organized Violence Trust (ZIVOVT) has already started facilitating meetings between the country’s main political parties in Bulawayo on the setting up of the peace liaison committees aimed at dealing with politically related cases before, during and after elections.

Bekithemba Nyathi, the ZIVOVT coordinator, said the formation of the multiparty liaison committees followed reports last week of changes to the country’s electoral laws.

The special police liaison and investigation committees in provincial centres would work with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to deal with intimidation and violence cases during elections.

“But the focus of ZIVOVT and the liaison committees should be to force Zanu (PF) to comply with democratic principles to ensure violence free elections. The committees should address the Zanu-PF culture of violence and intolerance,” Effie Ncube, a Bulawayo based analyst noted.

Zapu spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo noted that the “ZIVOVT agenda is a plausible move that should be supported to stop the election related violence in the country.”

Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson for the Arthur Mutambara Faction, Edwin Ndlovu said: “The idea is noble and any sane person would support it to stop Zanu(PF) violence.”

ZIVOVT was formed last year with an aim of assisting victims of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe. The organisation is chaired by Patience Nabanyama, the wife of the Patrick Nabanyama who was abducted in 2000.

Meanwhile MDC-T Councilors were on Sunday arrested on allegations of threatening the resort town’s mayor Nkosilathi Jiyane.

Jiyane a close confidant of Local government, Minister Ignatius Chombo resigned from MDC-T recently claiming that he was being harassed by party leaders in Matabeleland North province. He now runs Victoria Falls Town Council as an independent mayor, but has strong links with Zanu (PF).

Ward Five Councillor Chiliwende, Ward 10 Councillor Makoti and Councillor Nyoni of Ward Six were arrested by police on allegations of threatening Jiyane before disrupting a residents’ meeting at Chinotimba Community Hall on Thursday which the mayor was addressing.

Police allege the three MDC-T councillors were also leading a group of youths who stopped the meeting and threatened Jiyane with death.

“We have arrested the three councillors for threatening the mayor with death and have since launched a manhunt for the other party members who were involved in this scuffle,” said Matebeleland North police spokesperson Trust Ndlovu.

Last month Chombo came to Jiyane’s defence after MDC-T councillors threatened to fire him accusing him of incompetence. The Minister in turn accused the councillors for bringing internal party squabbles into local governance issues. MDC-T wanted to replace the mayor with a former commercial farmer Larry Cunnings.

One of the major fall-outs between the mayor and his party councillors was his decision to go against a council resolution to suspend the acting treasurer, Thabani Khumalo and the acting accountant, Mehluli Sibanda. The two were suspended last year for the disappearance of about US$23 000 by a creditor clerk who is on the run.