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



Theme: Changing Face of Victims

As the dynamics in the body politic continue to exhibit unprecedented factionalism; multilayering of disputes; as well as new players, the face of the victim has been changing.
Victims’ profiles have in recent months included war veterans, Zanu-PF members, who for the most part would have been violated by their own; members of the new Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF). Factionalism in the Progressive Democratic Party has also produced victims who have suffered violations at the hands of their own colleagues.

Executive Summary

MARCH reports, as has been the case in recent months, show a changing victim profile.
While in the past victims were almost homogenously members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and a sprinkling of Zanu-PF, in recent months this has altered showing significant numbers of victims from the ruling party itself; victims from nontraditional sections of the body politic, war veterans (less in March than in February, but there all the same); victims from traditional leaders; and also victims from the new Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party. The numbers of victims from the ZimPF party are on the rise since the party made its entry late last year. By the time the party launched in February, it had already started registering numbers of victims.

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) reports for March show a total of 123 violations which had 318 victims altogether. Of these victims 35 people (11.6%) were from ZimPF, which is a significant increase from 18 victims in February (4 % of the total 441). While the number of victims for March in general was less than from February, for ZimPF, the number of victims doubled.
There is continuously (over the months) a large number of victims whose political affiliation is unknown (55.3%). This seems to signify that for a good number of people their political persuasion is not something they are open about.

On the other hand the profile of perpetrators continues to show that members of the security sector are involved in political violation. March showed of 235 perpetrators, 80.4% were from Zanu-PF, which always leads month after month. The police made up 6% of perpetrators, the army 4.3%; while suspected members of the Central Intelligence Organisation made up 0.4%. MDC-T had 6.8 of the perpetrators, while MDC party which is led by Welshman Ncube had 0.4 perpetrators. It is interesting to note that PDP posted its own numbers of perpetrators at 1.3%. These were mainly a result of intra-party conflict which has also reared its ugly head in the relatively young PDP.

As the reports for March show, intra-party conflict continues to be quite rampant across the board.
An issue that recurred this year as before is that of civil servants, particularly teachers being forced to contribute their hard earned monies for Independence Day celebrations. For a workforce that earns very little which of late has often come erratically, it is rather unfair for teachers to be made to fund the celebrations especially when it is not by choice.

Politicised food aid distributions continued in cases across the country. In those instances Zanu-PF membership continued to be the “passport” to get food aid. On page 29 we carry our recommendations for food aid distribution including guidelines and minimum standards.

However, while in a number of areas, membership of Zanu-PF seems to dominate with the ruling party generally repressive of others, it is interesting to note how March reports show pockets of resistance from various quarters. For instance in Mashonaland East, some chiefs protested against the repressive instructions and orders. This was also seen in at least two other instances where resistance to Zanu-PF supremacy seems to be repeating itself in various corners.

All in all disregard for people’s Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Expression as enshrined in the Constitution continued to be the order of the day for March as in previous months.

As Independence Day approached ZPP noted with concern a number of human rights violations which had occurred in the 36 years since the country transitioned to majority rule. Even though most of the rights against which violations were noted are enshrined in the Constitution, violations continue unabated.

The struggle for Constitutionalism is real and continues to be elusive.