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  • ZPP statement on the signing of the political parties' code of conduct
    Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
    January 23, 2013

    The Zimbabwe Peace Project welcomes the signing of the political code of conduct on political violence by the country's major political parties. The agreement of the National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, according to the political parties, will see political party leaders being held accountable for their supporters' violent conduct. The ZPP believes this is a move in the right direction towards ending the culture of violence and impunity.

    Although it has taken more time for the political parties to agree on the code of conduct, the ZPP believes the document, if adhered to, is going to see Zimbabwe go through a relatively peaceful electoral period in 2013.

    The endorsement of the code of conduct comes in at an opportune time where fears were rising in the face of the forthcoming referendum and the proposed general elections due to be held this year. According to ZPP reports events such as the referendum and elections held in the past twelve years recorded the highest levels of unabated violence perpetrated by political party supporters against opposition and the citizens.

    Politicians in Zimbabwe have over the years been accused of preaching peace by day and perpetrating political violence by night. The ZPP has reported in its monthly reports, violations that were perpetrated by members of parliament and other senior politicians from the country's major political parties. The code of conduct, however, clearly states that leaders of political parties will be compelled to issue directives forbidding the intimidation of opponents.

    However, the ZPP remains very concerned on whether the code will make any difference to stem political violence because it does not have legal teeth. The role of the police and courts should not be undermined when dealing with perpetrators of political violence. It is ZPP's view that all perpetrators of violence should be brought to book. The code partially tries to deal with issues of political violence by introducing inter-party and stakeholder committees to deal with political violence.

    The ZPP reports on political violence are dominated by incidents of harassment and intimidation which in many cases have culminated in physical violence come election times.

    What remains to be seen this year is the transformation of words into deeds. President Robert Mugabe has of late been very consistent with his calls for peace during the upcoming referendum and elections.

    ZPP implores all politicians within and without the current government to uphold the letter and spirit of the code of conduct and create a peaceful and violent free environment ahead of the elections. During the last elections there was violence from both the MDC-T and Zanu PF supporters. A general political environmental scan has also seen the parties in the inclusive government witnessing factional break-aways due to intra-party violence.

    It the ZPP's strong view that the realization of the fundamental human rights and freedoms, very much depends on the willingness of those in power to enforce implementation. Unless there is change in the political and democratic culture in Zimbabwe the culture of violence and impunity will prevail for a very long time to come.

    ZPP is a registered civil society organisation that monitors breaches of peace at community level as a contribution towards sustainable peace and development for all.

    Visit the ZPP fact sheet

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