Zimbabwe

ZPP Monthly Monitoring Report: Human Rights Violations (September 2018)

Attachments

The state of the Right to Peace in Zimbabwe as the Declaration of Human Rights turns 70

Introduction

ZPP recorded a total of 124 cases containing 226 human rights violations showing a downward trajectory from the 266 violations recorded in August. In comparison to the previous month, there has been a spike in the cases of discrimination with the highest being reported from Midlands, followed by Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland East. 121 violations are linked to harassment with the majority of the cases of intimidation concentrated in the provinces of Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands and Mashonaland East. Individuals linked to the ruling Zanu PF party were responsible for perpetrating most of the violations. Zimbabwe Peace Project commemorated International Day of Peace on 21 September under the theme ‘ The Right to Peace-The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70’ in Chiredzi in an event attended by Chief Chilonga, 22 Headmen as well as several ward councillors. The event was also supported by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission through the attendance of Commissioner Dr Golden Chekenyere who praised ZPP for being a fore runner in issues of peace and working well with the commission to build peace. The highlight of the day was the handing over of the goat project spearheaded by ZPP trained Peace Ambassadors to the community. By empowering communities ZPP aimed to build sustainable peace in the Chilonga community.

Observations

The cholera and typhoid epidemics became a perfect litmus test of whether citizens in Zimbabwe were enjoying the right to peace. The sanitation and clean water delivery is an issue that had been spoken about for a long time and the epidemics were the explosion of the ticking time bomb.

The post-election period continues to be characterised by political reprisals, displacements, internal political party contradictions, deteriorating state of socio-economic rights as well as partisan food aid distribution. These are some of the unfortunate tactics of Zanu-PF as it continues to reaffirm its dominance on the general population. Rampant discrimination has been reported at the newly introduced Women’s Development Bank where only card carrying Zanu-PF women receive preferential treatment in accessing loans. School children were also denied the right to basic education after being sent away for non-payment of school fees in some schools.

MDC Alliance activists, particularly those who acted as polling agents continued to report cases of victimisation that include intimidation, assault and arson against their properties. These reports have either been dismissed by state media or law enforcement agents have not investigated the matters to finality. Without investigating the source of the fires, the cursory glance by state media and other state institutions of those reporting these incidences is inconsistent with the spirit of the ‘new dispensation’ as well as constitutionalism in an effort to ensure sustainable peace. This has resulted in many cases of displacements being reported.

The reprisals have not been limited to arson attacks only but they have also manifested through intimidation and harassment. Suspected opposition supporters have been dressed down during village meetings and unspecified action threatened against them. Within the ruling party, there is also a witch hunt against those suspected of having sabotaged President Emmerson Mnangagwa by engaging in ‘bhora musango’ (kick the ball in the woods). The ruling party is trying to calibrate itself under the leadership of President Mnangagwa but arrests against perceived G40 sympathisers and corruption investigations against them further escalated discontent against those that believe are being targeted.

Partisan food aid distribution was exposed when defeated Zanu PF councillor in Chakohwa continued to access grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and distributes it in a partisan manner. Another defeated Zanu PF councillor in Mhondoro prevented the distribution of farming inputs and food aid in a bid to spite the people who had not voted for him. The partisan access to state resources is also rampant in the newly opened Women’s Bank where there have been reports that some women who wanted to apply for funds were asked to first join Zanu PF and provide proof of membership.

Infighting has been reported in the opposition MDC Alliance over mayoral positions in the urban areas that the party resoundingly won. There have been reports of imposition of candidates as mayors in several urban councils. In Chitungwiza, the disagreements led to party members threatening violence against each other. Same scenarios have also been reported in Zanu PF circles.
School children have been sent back home and missed study time for non-payment of school fees while in Harare, lives were lost in the cholera pandemic and thousand others hospitalised, signifying worsening socio-economic conditions.