ZPP Monthly Monitoring Report: Human Rights Violations (April 2016)


Theme: Forced Monetary Contributions

Ordinary people across the country continue to be forced to contribute their hard-earned money to partisan celebrations. While a good number of the people would not mind as much if celebrations such as Independence Day, among others, were truly national the partisan complexion of the festivities in favour of the ruling party has served to put off many citizens. Not only that, the crippling poverty levels across the country also fuel resentment amongst the general populace.

Executive Summary

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) reports for April show a total of 139 violations up from last month’s 123. The month under focus had 292 victims altogether. Of these victims, those from the new party on the block, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) were 23 people (7.5%), which is a third of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) victims which stood at 22.6% which translates to 66 people. This showed that while ZimPF members were now also a target of Zanu-PF, MDC-T was still more on the receiving end of violations.

April reports were littered with cases of forced contributions of money towards the Independence Day celebrations. People, mostly villagers, were forced to contribute between US$1 and US$2 for the celebrations. While in most cases villagers, who have always been vulnerable at the hands of Zanu-PF driven demands made the contributions, some were unable to afford due to crippling poverty which has spread across the country.

Villagers were threatened with non-inclusion in food aid distribution exercises. According to food distribution guidelines the management and distribution of food and other relief is supposed to be based purely on criteria of need and not on partisan grounds, and without adverse distinction of any kind like the requirement to contribute to independence celebrations.

It was noteworthy in a number of instances across the countryside that while villagers complied into paying the requested amounts they, however, did not attend. Low attendances at the Independence Day festivities were recorded. But as well, there were also instances of forced attendances.

While traditional leaders continue to play the vanguard role of ensuring their people toe the Zanu-PF line, it is worth mentioning that there are some pockets of resistance among these leaders where they are protecting their people. For example in Hwedza, Mashonaland East some chiefs protected their people from the demands of contributing money for the Independence Day celebrations.

Discrimination around food distribution continues to rear its ugly head with some members of the opposition denied access to the food. In some instances, the elderly and other vulnerable members of the communities are going without food aid which would be intended for them as traditional leaders and councillors favour their own people from the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The month also saw a chilling incident where ZimPF member, Antony Kambaza (48), of Freza Farm, Ward 20 in Bindura North had his house and motor bike burnt by Zanu-PF supporters. According to ZimPF Kambaza was targeted because of his membership of the new party but also additionally because he is ZimPF leader, Joice Mujuru’s nephew. The impunity of Zanu-PF agents also reared its ugly head when in Chinhoyi a church interdenominational (mubatanidzwa) meeting where Mujuru was set to officiate at was prevented from taking place. The entrance to the venue was locked thereby making it impossible for the meeting to proceed. Some accusations and other threats were also issued as organisers were accused of having ulterior motives.

Intra-party conflict was also recorded in April in Zanu-PF, ZimPF and in MDC-T, with the ruling party and the opposition party recording six instances of intra-party conflict compared to one instance in the Zimbabwe People First.

Disrupted meetings were quite common in April where the main victims were ZimPF, where Zanu-PF youths would come and disrupt their meetings despite that the meetings would have been cleared by the police. Examples of disrupted ZimPF meetings include one in Redcliff and another in Mutoko, among a few others.

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) consultative meetings were conducted in some areas across the country and were resoundingly met with criticism wherein one of the major concerns was the proposed NPRC Bill gave the minister too much power. In some instances Zanu-PF members disrupted these meetings. The Parliamentary Legal Committee issued an adverse report on the NPRC Bill with some of the issues being buttressed in the public hearings which failed to cover all parts of the country. (See ZPP Statement on the NPRC on page 29).

By and large most of the instances of violations showed that the fear of being labelled a sell-out is quite common amongst ordinary citizens and threats of such a label being plastered on them is enough to make people comply, however unwillingly. Surveillance of who has attended what opposition meetings is another practice which is curtailing freedom of association amongst the general populace.

Across the board, the different fears for people include being discriminated against when it comes to food distributions; and also fear of being “dealt with” come 2018. It would appear that the ruling party continues to try to hold citizens with other political affiliations hostage.