Heal Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest terms the intra-party violence that occurred during the ZANU PF primary elections held from the 29th of April to the 1st of May 2018. The ZANU PF primary elections were marred by serious irregularities that include violence, intimidation, assault, vote buying, ballot stuffing and the use of police officers in the management the primary elections. Members of the police were deployed throughout the country to act a polling agents during the primary elections. Some of the irregularities were recorded in the following areas: in Centenary, Mashonaland Central, voting was stopped after disgruntled supporters violently protested against ballot stuffing and being blocked to vote at Mukwengure Primary School.
In Kwekwe Ward 9, Councillor Kandu Lawe on the 29th of April 2018 stormed Amaveni polling station over some cell register irregularities and threatened to assault polling agents if they continued with the primary elections. In another case aspiring candidate for Kwekwe Central, John Mapurazi pulled out of the elections citing violence and intimidation. ZANU PF supporters violently seized and burnt ballot papers in Murehwa South at Craiglea Primary School.
In Chegutu West, Dexter Nduna publicly fired shots in the air at Chinengundu Primary School on the 1st of May 2018. In Muzarabani South ward 17, Village head and ZANU PF District Chairman George Kambudzi an agent for Councillor Proud Pfotso on the 30th of April 2018, assaulted Feira Moya for supporting Maxwell Kangosa an aspiring councillor for Muzarabani ward 17 at Kambudzi Primary School
Heal Zimbabwe perceives the violent clashes as barbaric and uncalled for as they cast doubt over the possibility of peaceful, free and fair elections. The organisation condemns the use of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in the management of the primary elections, a direct contradiction of section 219 (2) of the constitution which clearly stipulates that the police must be nonpartisan.
Heal Zimbabwe implores ZANU PF and other political parties who are yet to conduct primary elections to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates which stipulates that NO political party or any of its members or supporters, and NO candidate or any of his or her supporters, may:
(a) Use violence, or threaten violence or incite or encourage the use of violence, against anyone on account of his or her political opinions or membership or support of a political party or participation in the election;
(b) Intimidate, or incite or encourage the intimidation, of anyone on account of his or her political opinions or membership or support of a political party; act in a way that may provoke violence or intimidation;
(c) Use violence or threats or illegal pressure to force voter to refrain from voting or to vote for a candidate or political party against his or her will;
(d) Force a voter to reveal the identity of the candidate voted for or take reprisals against a person because of the way in which he or she has voted or is believed to have voted.
Heal Zimbabwe implores the police as law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order without fear or favour as enshrined in the constitution and ensure that the environment is peaceful for all citizens. HZT further calls for political parties to value human life and take all necessary measures to uphold peace. Political parties must punish rogue supporters responsible for violence and establish sustainable peaceful measures of deterring future violent conflicts. The organization further urges all political parties to promote a culture of peace and tolerance within its structures as the nation approaches the elections.