Special election violence courts set up in Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe established special courts to deal with cases of political violence, the police said, part of government’s drive to curtail unrest and intimidation ahead of the first post-Mugabe elections set for July.

Delivering a vote seen as free and fair is crucial to the country’s efforts to mend ties with the West and could unlock foreign funding and investment needed to revive the struggling economy.

Past elections in the southern African nation were marred by violence against the opposition by supporters of Mugabe, removed in a de facto military coup in November.

This is the first time such courts have been established and follows new President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s pledge to hold a free and peaceful vote.
“The judiciary, in liaison with the police and other stakeholders, set up special courts throughout the country to speedily deal with politically motivated crimes,” police senior assistant commissioner Erasmus Makodza told a news conference.
“Any form of violence, threats or harassment of voters or rival contenders will certainly be dealt with,” he said, adding cases of vote violence will be expedited for prosecution.

Mnangagwa, who faces a crowded field of opposition rivals in the election, has invited Western observers, who have been banned since 2002.