ZPP Monthly Monitoring Report: Human Rights Violations (March 2017)


Executive Summary

The Zimbabwe Peace Project recorded various human rights violations in the month of March. Civic and political rights violations were recorded in both urban areas and rural areas.

In urban areas the violations were mainly the denial of the right to freedom of assembly, expression and association.

There was a National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) demonstration in Harare to protest against government’s decision to fund the acquisition of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) equipment. There was also a war veterans meeting in Harare and this resulted in police being on high alert and in the case of the NERA demo, police prevented NERA supporters from delivering their petition to ZEC premises in their numbers saying only ten people would be allowed to do so. There were also Zanu PF demonstrations countrywide against women’s league members Eunice Sandi-Moyo and Sarah Mahoka.

While NERA and war veterans almost had their meetings prohibited by police and ended up having stringent conditions to hold their meetings, Zanu PF supporters countrywide did not complain of such restrictions. Only the ruling party political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere was accused of trying to prevent the political meetings from going ahead.

All citizens have a right to equal treatment before the law and the arbitrary manner in which police are authorising or prohibiting political gatherings amount to discrimination.

In rural areas reports were about the denial of the rights to freedom of association and right to food mainly.

The opposition MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai has been going around the country meeting opinion leaders in various communities and this has resulted in a rise in violations against MDC-T supporters. They reported that they are being harassed for wearing MDC-T regalia or attending the party’s meetings.

The ruling Zanu PF party has been having its own internal contradictions and a number of intra-party violent incidents have been reported. The ruling party is also perpetually organising and campaigning and this has resulted in people reporting that they are being forced to attend party meetings or denied food and other aid on partisan basis.

The month of March also saw villagers being evicted from Arnold farm in Mazowe and being relocated to Concession. Minor children have not been going to school after being forcibly relocated to a new area 40km away. The villagers were also deprived of their property after they were forced to leave their livestock and crops behind.

The fight against impunity received a major boost when the High Court ruled that those who carry out torture and other illegalities in the course of their duties can be sued in their personal capacity in the case of Minister of State Security vs. Jestina Mukoko.

Finally all eyes have been in Mwenezi East where Zimbabwe People First candidate Kudakwashe Bhasikiti withdrew from the by-election slated for 8 April arguing that his supporters are being harassed and he is being prevented from holding rallies. The ruling Zanu PF has been accused of vote buying using maize and rice accessed from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). Traditional leaders have also been actively campaigning for the ruling party in violation of Section 281 of the constitution.

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) reports for March show a total of 112 violations down from last month’s 144. The month under focus had 655 victims altogether. Of these victims, those from the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) were 21 people 3, 2 %, and those affiliated to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) stood at 14, 35 % which translates to 94 people.

The increase in MDC-T victims may be linked to the increased political activity by the opposition party’s Morgan Tsvangirai who has been going around the country meeting opinion leaders.

A total of 655 victims and 263 perpetrators were recorded. 62,4 % of the victims were male while 37,5 % were females. 90, 5% of the perpetrators were male while 9, 5 % were female.

One hundred and sixty seven (167) perpetrators were affiliated to the ruling Zanu PF party which is 63,5 % of the figure. Four perpetrators could not be established which party they were affiliated to. Eighty one (81) perpetrators were police officers while 8 perpetrators where from the Zimbabwe National Army. Two (2) of the perpetrators were Central Intelligence Organisation operatives and 1 perpetrator was from the MDC-T.

Risk Assessment

From the reports in the month under review the 2018 elections are giving way to intolerance in communities where citizens are continually being threatened with unspecified action in some instances if they do not vote wisely. What is also evident is the fact that citizens are living in fear as they are told that their vote is not a secret in the 2018 elections. Leaders in communities continue to warn citizens that they will know who they vote for. In this month and the last it is clear that Zanu PF is restructuring its local structures and this is also causing untold suffering for those suspected to belong to the opposition.

The selective application of the law does not bode well for creating a political environment that is level for all political actors for the 2018 elections. Good examples are the demonstrations by NERA and those by the Zanu PF women’s and youth leagues. While the police descended in all their numbers for the NERA demonstration they were conspicuous by their absence at all the Zanu PF demonstrations against Sandi Moyo and Sarah Mahoka.

Hate language seems to have been taken a gear up and the concern about this is that it is breeding ground for the outbreak of violence. The continual non action of the police in some incidents that are reported to them is tantamount to their abrogating their mandate and this does not bode well for citizens to have confidence in the police as protectors of their rights.

The ZPP feels that it is the duty of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to conduct free and fair elections and it is therefore their role to intervene where the electorate is being instilled with fear on some people knowing who they will have voted for. The electorate needs to get the correct information as soon as possible.

Data Gathering Methodology

Information contained herein is based on reports from ZPP long-term community based human rights monitors, who observe and record cases of human rights violations in the constituencies they reside. ZPP deploys a total of 420 community-based primary peace monitors (two per each of the 210 electoral constituencies of Zimbabwe). The monitors compile reports that are handed over to ZPP Coordinators who man the different ZPP regional offices in the ten administrative provinces of Zimbabwe. Upon receipt and verification of the reports from the monitors, the Coordinators compile provincial monthly monitoring reports, which are then consolidated at the national office into the ZPP Monthly Monitoring Report published in retrospect.

This report contains some of the violations recorded by ZPP, the organisation has a data base with the rest of the injustices and gladly shares it with interested stakeholders.