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‘Crackdown on opposition activists against democratic tenets’

Christian Voices International Zimbabwe (CVI-Z) has criticised the ongoing crackdown against MDC Alliance officials and lawyers following last week’s disputed polls, saying this was against the tenets of democracy and violates human rights.

BY SILAS NKALA

CVI-Z director Tapfumaneyi Clement Zenda said the organisation was concerned about the unfolding post-election violence unleashed on civilians by soldiers in Harare, who allegedly shot and killed at least seven civilians during a protest against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, where the protesters alleged the electoral management body was delaying in releasing the presidential election results.

“A crackdown on voices of dissent is totally against the tenets of democracy as enshrined in our Constitution,” Zenda said.

“The holy book (Bible) calls upon the powers that be to protect the vulnerable, the orphans and the widows and not to be their tormentor. Such kind of behaviour by authorities risks putting at a crossroads the relationship between the church and the government of the day when the political leadership denies taking any responsibility on who specifically ordered the shootings and what motive behind that was?”

Zenda reminded the authorities that God sides with the oppressed.

He said the crackdown was “barbaric” and unacceptable in a free and civilised society.

“This is not the Zimbabwe we want. We, therefore, demand that: a full inquest in the shootings be carried out and all the perpetrators be brought to book. We call upon politicians to settle their scores peacefully and constitutionally in the interest of progress and in spirit of statesmanship apart from power mongers and personal aggrandisement motives,” Zenda said.

“We pray that all politically-motivated violence ceases forthwith and further implore members of our security forces, precisely the ZNA [Zimbabwe National Army] not to act on political party grounds and rather adhere to their professional and constitutional mandate of defending the nation than being reduced to a militia. To the best of our knowledge, at the moment, the nation is not facing a threat from any foreign intrusion.”

He said the organisation was concerned about the duplication of duty between the army and police.

Zenda said police had a constitutional mandate to maintain peace, yet people were witnessing soldiers usurping such responsibility, setting a bad precedence which was unhealthy for the nation.

Source :

NewsDay

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