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Amnesty International Calls for End to Political Violence in Zimbabwe


Amnesty International has called for an end to post-election political violence in Zimbabwe, which it says, appears to be coordinated. Tendai Maphosa has more in this report for VOA from London.

Amnesty expressed concerns over reports of violence targeting perceived supporters of opposition parties following the March 29 general election in Zimbabwe.

"What we are seeing is some kind of coordinated post-election violence which is some form of retribution against people who are said to have voted incorrectly, that's what we have been told by some human rights groups that are in Zimbabwe that many of the victims are saying that the people who are beating them up who are assaulting them whether they are soldiers police or war veterans or ZANU-PF youth are accusing them of not having voted correctly," Amnesty's Simeon Mawanza explained.

The Amnesty statement comes on the eve of the Southern African Development Community's emergency meeting on the Zimbabwe crisis in the Zambian capital Lusaka Saturday. Amnesty urged SADC to acknowledge that the increasing tension in Zimbabwe is being stoked by the delayed release of the presidential election results. The rights group also has a list of demands for the SADC leadership.

"We want to see them publicly acknowledging that those responsible for the violence include security organizations war veterans and supporters of political parties like ZANU-PF and in some instances where you have inter-party violence even the MDC," Mawanza said. "We also want them to acknowledge publicly that the cause of the increased tension in Zimbabwe is the delay in releasing the result of the presidential election."

The Amnesty statement chronicles cases of people pulled from buses and assaulted and at their homes in rural and urban areas. It notes that that despite the cases being reported to the police, no one has been arrested yet.

Mawanza added that a culture of impunity has been reinforced in Zimbabwe because the country has been allowed to operate outside the African Union and United Nations human rights frameworks for too long. He added that the SADC leadership should deal with this issue during their meeting.

Zimbabweans voted to choose a president, parliament members and local officials. So far, only the parliament results have been made public.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) challenger Morgan Tsvangirai is claiming victory over long-time incumbent President Mugabe. The government appointed electoral commission says it is still collating the figures. But state media has suggested that none of the candidates won a majority of the vote and that a second-round run-off is necessary.

The MDC has appealed to the High Court to force the electoral commission to publish the presidential election result. The judge says he will announce his ruling Monday.

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