Human rights activist killed in suspected car crash plot
By Nomalanga Moyo
A human rights activist has died while another is in hospital, after the
vehicle they were travelling in was sideswiped by two cars in a suspected
Activist Elliot Dhliwayo was on his way to Harare for a protest organised by
the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), when the incident
Dhliwayo and another senior ROHR official are said to have been travelling
from Chivhu, along the Harare-Masvingo highway, “when two vehicles took
turns to sideswipe their car and did not stop when it crashed”.
Dhliwayo later died from the injuries sustained in the crash and was buried
in his rural home in Chivi, on Tuesday.
The other official, who cannot be named for security reasons, is still in
In a statement issued Sunday, ROHR (UK Chapter) President Ephraim Tapa said
Dhliwayo’s death was an assassination. He said the tragedy proved that the
Mugabe regime will stop at nothing to suppress opposition ahead of the
Dennis Benton, coordinator at lobby group the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition
(ZimVigil), said the two pressure groups were saddened by Dhliwayo’s death.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa Monday, Benton said Dhliwayo’s death was even
more tragic as leaves behind a wife and three young children.
He added: “Rights activists are at greater risk from the security
establishment in Zimbabwe as Mugabe tries to rig the next election to remain
“There is no respect for the rule of law, and activists are living in fear.
There has been a concerted clampdown on even rights lawyers such as Beatrice
Mtetwa, and this is likely to get worse in the next two weeks leading up to
polling day,” he said.
The ROHR protest, which was postponed out of respect for the deceased,
finally went ahead on July 12th when more than 100 activists petitioned the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for free and fair elections.
“The activists then proceeded to the Ministry of Home Affairs where they
left a petition demanding an end to arbitrary arrests, harassment and
torture of human rights defenders,” Benton added.
The alleged assassination of the ROHR activist comes as the British
government has reportedly stepped up its deportations of failed Zimbabwean
asylum seekers, a situation described by Benton as worrying.
“We are very worried. ZimVigil is meeting the (UK) Foreign & Commonwealth
Office on Thursday, when we hope to bring to their attention the precarious
situation in Zimbabwe.”
Benton expressed concern that the British government seemed to be under the
impression that the forthcoming poll will be free and fair, “presumably
based on assurances from (South African) President Jacob Zuma.
“But we have little faith that regional bloc SADC, as the guarantor of the
Zimbabwe Global Political Agreement, will honour its role.
“As ROHR and the Vigil if the elections are not deemed credible, we would
want SADC to order Mugabe to hold fresh elections that are in line with the
undertakings made in 2008 to ensure security sector reforms, a free and fair
vote and access and open access to media,” Benton said.
ROHR is an offshoot of the ZimVigil, which has held protests against rights
abuses outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London every Saturday since 2002
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