By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
A Harare based pro-democracy group has accused Zimbabwean police of abandoning their constitutional duties and turning themselves into Zanu PF political “commissars” ahead of this weekend’s Bikita West by-election.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said in a statement that the parliamentary by-election has been marred by violence and other acts of intimidation allegedly perpetrated by Zanu PF activists while police watched.
“What has worsened the situation is the partisan conduct of law enforcement agents who have turned themselves into political commissars for the ruling party against the dictates of the country’s supreme law,” said the group in a statement.
“The result has been victimization and threats to opposition activists who have for long failed to get redress in the event of them being attacked or threatened.”
Added the group: “CIZC implores law enforcement agents to desist from serving partisan interests as their partisan conduct has allowed ruling party activists to act above the law.
“We further call upon ruling party politicians to desist from making reckless statements that have the potential of fuelling violence and hatred in communities.”
The Bikita West by-election will see six candidates compete for a seat that was left vacant following the 10 year jail term imposed on then sitting MP Munyaradzi Kereke for raping his niece.
Stakes have been raised by the entry of ZimPF candidate Kudakwashe Gopo with fears Joice Mujuru’s party could spring a surprise and snatch the seat from Zanu PF control.
Zanu PF top leaders among them Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko have visited the area to campaign for party candidate Beauty Chabaya.
The other candidates vying for the seat are Madock Chivasa of National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Tanyaradzwa Terrence Makumbo of Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe (PDZ), two independent candidates Heya Shoko and Innocent Muzvimbiri.