Political violence will cause voter apathy, ZESN warns

THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has warned that rising acts of politically motivated violence will result in apathy in electoral processes, especially among women and people with disabilities.

Zimbabwe is witnessing a surge in political violence ahead of the March 26 by-elections.

On Sunday, a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) died after he was stabbed with a spear by a suspected Zanu PF supporter at a Kweke rally addressed by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

ZESN warned that the violence will result in apathy in the ongoing voter registration and subsequent elections.

“The recent violent clashes have a potential to adversely affect the turnout of citizens on the ongoing voter registration exercise as violence impacts negatively on the participation in electoral processes especially of women and people with disabilities,” the ZESN said in a statement.

“Political and electoral related violence undermines civil and political rights and affects citizens’ right to compete in electoral processes. Also; it erodes trust in democratic processes as well as undermines the quality of democracy thereby, limiting inclusive participation.”

ZESN called on political parties to create a conducive environment where all citizens enjoy their fundamental rights without fear.

“ZESN calls on political parties to embrace divergent views and promote peace in the country as well as to put in place mechanisms that promote the participation of women in electoral processes,” ZESN added.

“The Network recommends that perpetrators of violence must be arrested and there is a need for a more holistic and expanded legal framework to deal with perpetrators of political and electoral related violence.”

On Saturday, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga issued chilling threats against the CCC when he warned that Zanu PF will not hesitate to ‘crush’ the opposition party like lice.

The country’s elections have been marred with political violence dating back to as far as 1980.

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