On the 26th and 27th of February 2022, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) observed cases of disruption of political party rallies that were convened by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) political party in Gokwe and Kwekwe respectively.
On Saturday 26 February 2022 ZimRights witnessed members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police violently dispersing supporters of the CCC who had gathered for a by-elections rally. The police said they were acting in response to the prohibition order that was issued on Friday, the 25th of February by the officer commanding Gokwe District, Chief Superintendent T Chikono. This was despite the initial greenlight, given on the 22nd of February, that the same rally could go ahead by the same office. Furthermore, on the 26th of February, Justice Chirau had made a finding that there was no proof that the rally had been cancelled or was likely to be cancelled.
ZimRights notes with concern the high levels of political intolerance being manifested in these instances. This provides fertile ground for more political violence, an uneven playing field for all political players, and the likelihood of another disputed election.
ZimRights therefore calls for the following:
- The government of Zimbabwe to level the political playing field.
- All political parties to respect the sanctity of the supreme law of the land, and to remind them of the Constitutional Provisions under Section 67(1) and (2) which give every citizen the right to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of their choice, campaign freely and peacefully for a political party.
- All Zimbabweans to practice political tolerance and to remind them on the sanctity of human life and that no life is worth losing over political differences.
- The Zimbabwe Republic Police to be non-partisan and to investigate and arrest all perpetrators of political violence despite their political affiliation.
Issued by the ZimRights Information Department