The month of December witnessed the least violations recorded within a month in 2013 as the levels of politically motivated human rights violations continued on a downward trend throughout the country. There were 213recorded incidents of human rights violations during the month of December down from the 317 cases witnessed during the month of November with the majority of recorded cases being of discrimination and the politicisation of the distribution of farming inputs.
The reduction in incidents of violence can be attributed to the fact that there were no major political activities save for the Zanu PF national conference held in Mashonaland West at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) from 12-16 December 2013. Unlike the previous conferences, the Zanu PF conference was development centred and the party resolutions did not show any immediate plans for the organisation to target its perceived political enemies. The resolutions were more on the government’s economic recovery plans using the ZIMASSET economic policy document.
Traditional leaders continued to violate provisions of the Constitution by advancing the interests of one political party in most of the cases recorded across the country. Section 281 of the new Constitution clearly states that “traditional leaders must not be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics, act in a partisan manner, further the interest of any political party or cause or violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person”.
In a clear violation of the constitution, headman Madzonga from Makoni West in Manicaland allegedly denied teachers for Dewedzo Primary and secondary schools farming inputs on 13 December 2013 accusing them of belonging to the MDC-T. The farming inputs were from the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
The demolition of illegal homes continued to worsen with revelations that more than 14 000 residential stands allocated to home seekers in Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural District Council are illegal and the structures built on them should be demolished. A Government sanctioned audit of illegal structures revealed that 8 260 stands are in Chitungwiza, while 6 200 are in Seke communal lands under Manyame Rural District Council.
Another worrying trend observed during the month was the continued farm invasions of white owned commercial farms which started more than 13 years ago. The invasions which are usually violent were reported in the Midlands and Mashonaland West provinces. A white commercial farmer was forced off his farm in Chirumanzu on 23 December 2013 by a Zanu PF official and businessman from Fairfield identified as Aaron Rwodzi. The white previous owner was only given 24 hours to vacate the farm leaving behind 210 cattle and a host of farming equipment.