By Daniel Chigundu
THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has praised Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo for denouncing violence as the country gears for the impending 2018 general elections.
Since 2000 Zimbabwean elections have generally been characterised by political violence which has seen people sustaining serious injuries and others dying, while property worth millions of dollars has been destroyed.
In a statement ERC said the call is very encouraging but the party must walk the talk and continue to propagate the information to the grassroots.
“In the past Zanu PF party has been fingered in several incidences of violence and 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.
“The ERC urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to respect and enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates (ECCPPC) 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.
“The ECCPPC 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,” said the statement.
The elections watchdog also called on the relevant stakeholders to play their party in discouraging acts of violence during election periods.
“The ERC therefore implores the Zimbabwe Republic 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.
“Most importantly, 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,” added ERC.
ERC also urged peace loving Zimbabweans to champion peace and to desist from being used and abused by politicians as instigators of violence.