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Minimum conditions for free, fair and peaceful elections from the view of survivors of political violence in Buhera
Heal Zimbabwe Trust
February 21, 2013

On Friday, 15 February, survivors of all forms of politically motivated violence in Buhera district thronged Bishop Matsinde's homestead for a district survivor summit. In attendance where more than 200 people who included church leaders, traditional leaders, councillors and survivors of political violence. The summit was held at Bishop Matsinde's homestead of the Majestic Holy church who is also a Heal Zimbabwe community mediator and member of Heal Zimbabwe peace committee in Buhera.

Heal Zimbabwe gave an insight into the objectives of the survivor summit. Three Pastors from various churches, including Bishop Matsinde took to the stand sharing words of encouragement with the survivors of violence. The pastors emphasised on the need for the survivors to forgive the perpetrators and take a leading role in promoting peace and tolerance in the community. The preachers concurred that survivors of political violence should find it in their hearts to forgive those who wronged them thus contributing towards building a peaceful Zimbabwe. The pastors urged the survivors to love their enemies and encouraged them to pray for peace in the country especially now as the country heads towards elections.

HZT staff took time to explain chapter 12 of the draft constitution to the survivors which comprises of independent commissions, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Human Rights Commission, Gender Commission, Media Commission and their importance to them. The survivors were encouraged to exercise their rights by participating in the constitutional referendum. Survivors of political violence then aired out their minimum demands for the holding of free, fair and peaceful elections. Below are the points raised by the delegates.

Summary of minimum conditions for free and fair elections from the view of survivors of political violence:

  • Regional and International peacekeepers should come six months before elections and leave 6 months after elections in order to protect the electorate from political violence.
  • Security sector reforms should be implemented before any call for elections.
  • All members of the army should reside in army barracks and should desist from moving around villages, victimising civilians.
  • There should be media reforms before any call for elections where hate speech is banned and all political parties given equal share to campaign in all the media spaces in the country.
  • Members of the police should be impartial in conducting their duties and should stop the arbitrary arrests of political activists.
  • The Member in Charge of the Buhera police post, Dispol Muguti who is a war veteran should be removed immediately from the police station as he is partisan and harassing all non ZANU PF supporters.
  • Wives of police officers who were given police force numbers because they support ZANU PF at Buhera Police station without undergoing training should not be allowed to operate as police officers in the area.
  • All the political bases that are being revived by ZANU PF youth should be banned forthwith.
  • All political parties should be allowed to campaign freely without harassment from the police or other rowdy members of certain political parties.
  • International and regional observers should come from all around the world not to be cherry picked.
  • Traditional leaders should not be partisan in conducting their duties.
  • The regional and international observers should take action after noting any human rights violations rather than just producing reports with no action to protect the electorate.
  • The Government food distribution exercise should not be done in a partisan basis.
  • Members of the uniformed forces should not be cohesed into voting while putting on their uniforms but should be allowed to vote freely from home in their civilians clothes.
  • Those who cannot write, the elderly and the physically challenged should choose whom they want to assist them in voting not to be forced to get assistance from the police or election agents.
  • Members of the uniformed forces who want to join politics should first resign then join politics later rather than taking advantage of their posts to force people to vote for them.
  • All perpetrators of political violence should be brought to book before any call for elections.
  • The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should employ new people as its secretariat not the current partisan one which deliberately delayed the 2008 election results.
  • Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar general should be fired, as he is responsible for tempering with the voting records of 2008 in favour of ZANU PF.
  • The mobile voter registration exercise should be accessible to all those who want to register to vote.
  • People should be allowed to vote at any polling station of their choice rather than having designated polling stations where they are subjected to victimisation and harassment.
  • All outstanding issues to the GPA should be fulfilled first before any call for elections in Zimbabwe.
  • Election results should be released 24hours after the voting process.
  • ZEC should use up to-date technology in order to ensure election results are released on time.
  • If ever there are any reports of political violence before the election date, the elections should be stopped forthwith.
  • All those vying for the post of Presidency in the upcoming elections should be given one public platform to explain to the public what they intend to do for the country if elected as President like what is happening in other countries for example Kenya.
  • All those who lost their sources of livelihoods, livestock, property should be reparated by the Government and the perpetrators before any call for elections.
  • Civil servants should be allowed to support political parties of their choices rather than having their salaries deducted for supporting a certain political party.

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