By HAZEL MARIMBIZA in BULAWAYO
THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has raised concern over the resurgence of politically-motivated violence, a development it says is likely to deter women from participating in politics.
This comes after political violence rocked Matobo district in Matabeleland South province recently when Zanu PF members and opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists clashed days before by-elections meant to fill vacancies for Matobo ward 2 and Insiza ward 4 council seats.
In a statement on Thursday the gender commission said it was concerned with the rise in politically motivated violence targeting mainly women political participants.
“We take particular note of the recent political violence against women in Matobo district, Matabeleland South Province. The Commission strongly condemns the alleged violence perpetrated against the women,” said ZGC.
“As ZGC we are concerned that the violence is likely to discourage women’s participation in politics and decision making which the commission has been actively promoting. Women will not equally participate in elections as long as the environment is marred by violence in all its forms,” added ZGC.
According to ZGC such assaults, regardless of the context, perpetrator, or the target, were an infringement on the rights to personal security and bodily integrity as well as freedom from all forms of violence from public as private sources as espoused in Section 52 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“A direct result of violence is that it contradicts Section 80(1) which states that every woman has a full and equal dignity of person with men, and this includes equal opportunities in political, economic, and social activities.
Further, the Electoral Code of Conduct, Section 5 states that no political party or any of its members or supporters may 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 elections,” said ZGC.
ZGC urged government, political parties and law enforcement agents, among other players to publicly declare commitment to upholding constitutional provisions in dealing with alleged criminal conduct.
“The government should conduct an investigation into circumstances surrounding cases of violence in a transparent and accountable manner to curtail speculation and speed up prosecution of perpetrators,” said ZGC. – Daily News