ZPP Monthly Monitor (February)




PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe made an official announcement during his birthday speech broadcast on national television that elections will have to be held this year with or without a new constitution in full support of one of the Zanu PF conference resolutions. The announcement also came hard on the heels of the news of the ban on 29 NGOs by Masvingo Provincial Governor Titus Maluleke on allegations that the organisations had failed to sign Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with his office.

Indications on the ground are that political tensions are now on the rise with the operating as space for NGOs continues to be shrunk. The Zanu PF position to force elections outside the necessary reforms has seen more people’s rights being violated during the month under review. In preparation for the elections, politicians from all the political parties have begun jostling for positions within their respective political parties.

The political tensions have since claimed one life in Manicaland Province where a Zanu PF supporter died as a result of injuries sustained during a fight in January in Chimanimani. The victim was heavily assaulted by fellow Zanu PF supporters and had to spend seven days in hospital before he died on February 26. Three Zanu PF officials are reportedly fighting to secure the party’s ticket for the Chimanimani East seat currently held by Samuel Undenge.

Politically motivated human rights violations are now on the rise with 413 incidents having been recorded up from the 365 witnessed during the month of January. The increase can be directly linked to the rising political tensions as a result of the move to push for elections this year.
An analysis of the violations trends during the month of February over the past five years reveals that the month has always had fewer incidents compared to the other months. The highest number of violations during the month of February was witnessed in 2009 with 1 285 cases. This was during the period when people were confused on how the inclusive government was going to work and an upsurge in revenge cases was the result.

Politically motivated human rights violations in February 2010 eased a bit to 979 cases only to increase in February 2011 to 1 209 as Zanu PF moved to get over 2 million signatures in the anti-sanctions petition campaign.

Cases of politically motivated violence remain high and the atmosphere has remained volatile in the Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces with a significant rise in Mashonaland West Province.

Traditional and community leaders have been recorded as the major perpetrators of human rights violations in most rural constituencies. The reports of forced meetings have been reported from the majority of the country’s provinces and mainly from the northern parts of the country.