Opposition parties seek Chihuri audience

HARARE - Opposition political parties are seeking audience with police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri over the recent spate of violence that saw 13 MDC supporters being attacked by alleged Zanu PF supporters in Harare South.

And to date, not a single Zanu PF supporter has been arrested in connection with the clashes, prompting the opposition parties to engage Chihuri, amid misgivings by the MDC that police are reluctant to read the riot act on the ruling party supporters.

The parties, which are Zanu Ndonga, African Democratic Party (ADP), Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe (PDZ), FreeZim Congress, MDC and National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), have since written a letter to Chihuri demanding audience with him.

“We therefore request for an urgent meeting with you to discuss these concerns by tomorrow the 3rd November, 2015,” reads part of the letter, written on Monday.

The parties accused the police of reneging on its obligations to maintain law and order in the facilitation of peaceful political activity in the country.

“We write at the instance of the leaders of the undersigned political parties. It is our belief that the constitutional mandate of the police is to maintain law and order and ensure that there is free political activity in the country,” the parties said.

According to the letter, the police were notified of the rally, which was to be held at Kazembe Primary School.

“However, the Zanu PF members went to the rally venue armed with all sorts of weapons, including bows and arrows and attacked MDC members. The police did not protect  the party which booked its rally. The fear of our leaders is that if the police does not stamp its authority and protect lawful gatherings, Zimbabwe could slide back to the 2008 scenario,” reads the letter.

Meanwhile, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC yesterday said that the police’s actions showed that they were “scared of Zanu PF”.

According to MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu, as of yesterday afternoon no one had been arrested in connection with the incident.

“To date, none of the Zanu PF thugs who attacked our supporters over the weekend have been arrested by the police, regardless of the fact that a report was formally made. We are not at all surprised by this lack of action on the part of the police. We are now used to it. The police are somehow very afraid of apprehending Zanu PF supporters in all cases to do with politically-motivated violence. The MDC is very concerned that these known Zanu PF thugs and terrorists are now behaving like a law unto themselves. The police should arrest all perpetrators of political violence, without fear or favour,” he said.

Gutu further told the Daily News that seven people were still hospitalised at the Avenues Clinic in the capital, but said that “their conditions are now stabilising.”

The recent violence comes after Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum last week released a report singling Zanu PF as the biggest perpetrator of political violence and human rights offender in the country, with the opposition MDC, war veterans and the police following behind. In its quarterly political and human rights violations report covering political and human rights violations in Zimbabwe for the period July to September 2015, the rights group noted that President Robert Mugabe’s party contributed 40 percent of all the rights transgressions.

“A total of 799 cases were recorded during the quarter with harassment and intimidation being the most prevalent form of violence,” the rights group noted.

Comments (13)

give them some lecture comrade Chihuri on the history of police in Zim

cremora - 4 November 2015

give them some lecture comrade Chihuri on the history of police in Zim

cremora - 4 November 2015

Dear Opposition Parties You know very well that writing to Chihuri is a futile exercise. You know it. So don't waste your time, and everyone else's. Just fight back and subdue the perpetrators of violence. Why are you not crushing these feuds song your in the majority? Muri mbwende. Mbwende chaidzo. Fight back. OK.

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