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Parliament petitioned over political violence, intimidation ahead of 2023 elections

A human rights lobby group has petitioned parliament over the rise of politically motivated violence cases, intimidation and intolerance which has claimed lives, property and livelihoods of citizens across the country recently.

Raising the issues in a petition, Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) appealed to Parliament, to exercise its constitutionally mandated oversight by causing stakeholders to urgently address political violence, intimidation, human rights abuses by agents of the state and intolerance ahead of 2023 general elections.

“Now therefore your petitioners beseech the Parliament of Zimbabwe to exercise its constitutionally mandated oversight, legislative and representative roles in considering the following to urgently address political violence, intimidation, human rights abuses by agents of the state and intolerance. These ills if left unaddressed, threaten to tear apart the prospects of a peaceful, tolerant general election in 2023.

“Cause the NPRC to appear before Parliament to make known their plans to the nation in line with its mandate in terms Section 252 of the Constitution. Cause the ZHRC to appear before Parliament to make known their plans and program of action to ensure the fundamental rights cast in stone in the Bill of Rights are protected, promoted and respected as the nation descends into an election season, a period traditionally associated with human rights violations and abuse,” read part of the petition.

HZT called on political parties represented in Parliament to promote peace as this will go a long way in guaranteeing political choices.

“Political party leaders at various strata of political organisation and level have allegedly been at the forefront of inciting, promoting and fanning political violence, intolerance and hate speech. The Parliament of Zimbabwe itself a bastion of democracy, coming out with its entire membership promoting and encouraging peaceful political participation in every corner of Zimbabwe would go a long way in guaranteeing tolerance, peace and respect for political choices,” said HZT.

The petition comes in the wake of rising political violence ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.