November saw news on Zimbabwe dominated by the on-going political differences between the Zimbabwe's three main parties. More than a year after it was signed, the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which was meant to address the many crises facing Zimbabwe, has yet to be fully implemented. In amongst the many media reports discussing the persistent tensions and debates between the parties, there were other reports reflecting the unavoidable reality that Zimbabwe is still a nation in turmoil. These news reports do not speak of failures to implement the process, but point instead to brazen breaches of sections in the agreement.
An overview of the November news items highlighting breaches of the GPA throws up repeated mentions of wide-ranging human rights abuses involving Zimbabwe's soldiers.
At the start of the month, The Zimbabwean newspaper described a horrific incident at the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields, where army personnel took it upon themselves to 'punish' three men who had entered a secure area. The men were taken to the army base where they were severely beaten. The next day they were taken back to the mines where they were reported to have been forced to carry four corpses (the bodies of civilians allegedly killed by the army) from the mines and back to the bases.
Christopher Mushowe, former Zanu PF Minister of Transport who was this year controversially appointed to be the Governor of Manicaland, was accused this month of instructing soldiers to harass and intimidate villagers in Muromo, Mutare West constituency. The soldiers have been active, and villagers have complained and pointed out the partisan nature of the harassment, saying that those citizens who are seen to attend MDC-T functions and rallies have been specifically targeted.
Soldiers have also been accused of targeting villagers in Chivi (Masvingo Province). According to one news report: "Chivi villagers were [...] forced to abandon their day-to-day duties to attend [...] meetings called by soldiers from 4.1 infantry battalion in Masvingo." The meetings were to force villagers in these areas to accept the Kariba Draft constitution as Zimbabwe's new constitution - this being the draft favoured by the Zanu PF party. In another constitution related incident, a man wearing a "No To Kariba Draft" T-shirt was attacked by soldiers who tore off his shirt and beat him using their hands and booted feet.
An orphanage in Bulawayo received an unwelcome and unpleasant visit by soldiers who accused the authorities at the centre of harbouring MDC activists. It was reported that the soldiers were armed with AK-47 rifles, they arrived in an army truck, and they apparently ransacked Thuthuka Orphanage, beating up orphans in the process.