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By-Election results do not represent will of the people

by People's Party
12 Feb 2020 at 12:25hrs | Views
The outcome of the recently held by-elections in Mwenezi and Kuwadzana does not reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe as the elections were not conducted in a free and fair environment.

The law requires state media to operate impartially and to afford all political players fair coverage. Despite recommendations by successive election observer missions and, more recently, a High Court order by Justice Joseph Mafusire, requiring state media to conduct itself with impartiality, it continues to unashamedly operate as an appendage of the ruling Zanu PF.

The police have systematically limited freedom of assembly by way of unconstitutional legislation that allows them to arbitrarily ban political gatherings. A free and fair election cannot be conducted where the police criminalise political gatherings in a bid to frustrate the activities of opposition political parties.

In rural, and to some extent urban areas, food aid continues to be used as a political weapon. Videos have appeared on social media showing Zanu PF agents distributing government and donor-provided food on a partisan basis. Those aligned to the opposition are denied access. This has the effect of compelling voters, particularly those in rural areas, to align with Zanu PF for their survival. Such a vote cannot be said to have been freely given.

The prevailing insecurity of citizens, following state-sponsored murders and abductions during the August 1, 2018 and January 2019 protests, has limited the usable spectrum of democratic space. Citizens cannot freely express themselves for fear of being abducted, tortured or killed.

This insecurity can only be cured by holding those behind the violence accountable. There is credible information pointing to the involvement of State Security minister Owen Ncube in these abductions. He must be held to account together with Sergeant Wellington Mushosho, of the Police Internal Security Intelligence, who was caught red- handed together with nine other police, MID and CIO operatives after they violently attacked and robbed members of the public in Mbare, Harare.

Mushosho has already admitted that he undertook this torture campaign after he was instructed by his superiors to attack opposition supporters. However, the case against him and his nine accomplices was withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority in a bid to cover up the involvement of the authorities.
This is unacceptable. The government cannot deploy security forces to intimidate and subdue the population and then purport to hold free and fair elections.

If the authorities continue to protect those who have been attacking opposition supporters, we will be left with no option but to respond on behalf of the people through whose agency we speak.

We wish to participate in the next arising by-election, but we will not do so under the present conditions. The Constitution and attendant laws are clear about what constitutes a free and fair election. These conditions have not been met. If the authorities remain obstinate and ignore the calls for electoral and political reforms, we will be forced to engage them head on and respond to their criminal tactics pound for pound.

Department of Information and Media

Source - People's Party