The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has declared their readiness for the July 30 harmonized elections saying they will ensure the plebiscite is free, fair, credible and free of violence.
Officiating the Violence Against Women in Elections (VAWIE) project yesterday, Commissioner General of Police, Godwin Matanga assured the nation that the police will decisively deal with all forms of violence adding that they have activated the National ZRP Harmonized Election Command Centres set to operate throughout the election period.
“We have already increased police visibility through focused deployments of personnel throughout the country during this build-up towards the election, and we shall continue to do so on the day of the election as well as the period after the election,
“To effectively discharge the foregoing functions, all our officers have been retrained on various aspects and laws governing the holding of democratic elections as well as preservation of law and order in the country. Every officer shall exhibit a high degree of discipline and professionalism at all times,
“We shall deal decisively with all forms of violence and any perpetrator of violence shall be brought to book irrespective of one’s station in life . We will certainly arrest anyone who engages in any form of political violence which include threats, intimidation, or assault to any nearest police station or at our National Complaints Desk,” said Matanga.
He urged political party leaders and their members to refrain from making irresponsible, inflammatory statements or pronouncements which may incite irresponsible or violent behavior.
Matanga added that all victims of rape from the 2008 plebiscites to report their cases promising that they will be dealt with effectively.
Speaking at the launch, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Chief of Party, Dr Stephen Snook spoke on cyber space bullying which gravely affects women saying the project will be monitoring the violence online.
“The project will also look into violence committed in cyber space. This type of violence harms not the person, but the person’s dignity and reputation; because of its nature it harms women more gravely than men,
“VAWIE will be monitoring this type of violence online. Zimbabwe’s lawmakers and its legal profession will have the opportunity to act on the information this project will amass on violence in cyberspace,
“If Zimbabwe moves to effectively criminalize the violence currently being committed online in ways that enable victims to find recourse to justice, this would be pioneering effort that would move Zimbabwe to the forefront of the world,” explained Snook.
Meanwhile Civil Society Organizations which include Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ), Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and Zimbabwe Women’s Lawyers Association (ZWLA) vowed to play a central role of providing assistance to victims which will enable the police to demonstrate zero tolerance to violence.