THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission will investigate intra-party violence that rocked MDC-T in Bulawayo last week, where senior opposition officials were bashed by youths allegedly working at party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s behest.
MDC-T deputy president Ms Thokozani Khupe sustained injuries and sought medical attention.
The youths last week disrupted a meeting of senior officials at the party’s Bulawayo offices and attacked Ms Khupe, national chair Mr Lovemore Moyo, and organising secretary Mr Abednico Bhebhe.
The attacks were linked to the trio’s reported refusal to join party president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in a coalition with a group of smaller parties under the “MDC Alliance” banner. Several party officials have been suspended over the violence despite Mr Tsvangirai’s earlier attempts to pin the criminal activity on Zanu-PF and the State.
ZHRC chairperson Mr Elasto Mugwadi told The Sunday Mail last week that the commission was gravely concerned with the violence.
He said: “I was listening to commentaries by people relating to the violence that happened in Bulawayo over the weekend.
“Such behaviour shows that we still have to reach political maturity. It’s not acceptable. Resources permitting, we are going to be looking at the issue and find out exactly what happened.”
Mr Mugwadi said the ZHRC would use its Electoral Act mandate to recommend postponement of elections in constituencies where political violence occurred.
Section 133H of the Electoral Act sets out the appointment and functions of a special police liaison officer and special investigation committee that includes the ZHRC.
The committee looks into electoral malpractices and political violence.
“In fact, the commission’s mandate is quite broad. We have the right in terms of our mandate to attend political rallies; we have the right to attend intra-political elections where they elect representatives for constituencies.
“That’s what we do in the build up to an election. We have to qualify if an election was free and fair, so one has to look at the developments prior to an election,” said Mr Mugwadi.- state media