Zanu PF leads in human rights violations

July 15, 2013 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

ZANU PF supporters and State security agents contributed to 55% of the major
human rights violations in the past six months, a report by a local
non-governmental organisation has revealed.

REPORT BY BY TAPIWA ZIVIRA AND PHYLLIS MBANJE

According to a Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) analysis between January and June
this year, Zanu PF supporters contributed to 29% of the human rights
violation cases in the country.

At least 13% of the violations were attributed to police and intelligence
personnel with 10% each to war veterans and soldiers.

Police and army are headed by Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri and
General Constantine Chiwenga respectively and both have vowed that they
would not salute anyone without liberation war credentials.

Chihuri has openly said he supports Zanu PF leader, President Robert Mugabe
although his position requires that he be apolitical.

HZT communications and research manager, Sitabile Dewa said: “The covert
forms of political violence, which are arson, abductions assault,
harassment, intimidation and forced rally attendances were in most cases
perpetrated by Zanu PF supporters on other members of different political
parties, especially MDC-T.

Another emerging trend was that of assault used as a form of punishment on
those that are deemed as sell-outs.”

Dewa said politically-motivated violence was worsened by the intra-party
conflicts that emerged during the Zanu PF and MDC-T primary elections held
last month.

The other contributors to violations were identified as youths. Zanu PF and
MDC-T accounted for 19%, traditional and political leaders 16% and officials
from the Registrar General’s Office accounted for 3%.

Reports of increased violence are coming as the country prepares for
elections on July 31. The MDC-T has complained that the electoral playing
field was not yet level to allow free, fair and credible polls.

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai had insisted on sweeping electoral, media
and security sector reforms but his quest was doomed when Mugabe proclaimed
July 31 as the poll date.

Police, army and veterans of the liberation struggle have often been used as
instruments of violence and intimidation in previous elections.

The MDC-T claims 200 of its supporters died at the hands of Zanu PF
supporters and state security agents during the violent 2008 elections.

HZT director Rashid Mahiya, whose organisation is running a peace campaign,
said: “These elections were supposed to take place in an environment in
which reforms that are meant to ensure security of citizens and free
participation of everyone have been implemented.”

Meanwhile, a US-based organisation has said the harassment, intimidation and
violence perpetrated against civic actors by the government was undermining
the credibility of the forthcoming elections.

In a recent report the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights
(JFK centre) said an atmosphere of intimidation and violence still existed
in Zimbabwe.

It attributed this to government’s crackdown on civil society and the human
rights community, including arbitrary detention of activists and opposition
supporters.
Titled, A Promise in Peril: How Widespread Rights Violations Undermine
Zimbabwe’s Elections, the report was compiled after a visit by an
international delegation organised by the RFK Centre in March 2013.

“The routine intimidation, harassment, and arbitrary criminal prosecutions
of human rights defenders, lawyers, and political activists in Zimbabwe
threaten the rights of all citizens to participate freely in public
affairs,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of the RFK Centre. “With an
election upcoming, the government must ensure an electoral environment that
is consistent with international standards.”

Kennedy was part of a delegation that also attended the trial of top lawyer,
Beatrice Mtetwa who is being accused of “obstruction of justice”.

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