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Just a taste of what’s to come! A week in review
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
February 06, 2004

This week has seen further disturbing events unfolding all pointing out to the fact that Zimbabwe is far from being a democracy that we all wish to see. The situation has further slumped to new levels on gross human rights violations, police brutality and court judgements, which are difficult to accept in a sound democracy. There is no longer any recourse for aggrieved parties because the judiciary has been severely politicised and the independent press silenced.

Legislator Mpala latest victim of organised violence
The Movement for Democratic Change Member of Parliament for Lupane, David Mpala died on Tuesday after a long illness.

Mpala’s health started deteriorating after being tortured and stabbed by Zanu PF supporters in April 2000 while he was campaigning for the Lupane parliamentary seat. The late MP was again abducted in January 2002 by a group of Zanu PF supporters at Lupane Business Centre and severely beaten, tortured and stabbed on his chest, stomach and back.

We once again call for the immediate cessation of all forms of torture and state-sponsored violence against members of the opposition and civil society.

NCA members beaten up, Madhuku left for dead
Heavily armed anti-riot police on Wednesday descended on National Constitutional Assembly demonstrators outside the Parliament building and set dogs on them in a bid to thwart the demonstration for a new constitution and the call for an end to human rights abuses in the country.

Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA Chairman and Bopoto Nyandoro, the organisation’s chairman for Mashonaland East province and other demonstrators were bundled into a police truck and severely beaten and dumped in a bush on the outskirts of Harare.

Four women were mauled by police dogs and are reportedly battling for life at a private clinic in Harare and more than 130 protestors who were arrested during Wednesday’s demonstration were asked to pay Z$10 000.00 each as admission of guilty fine.

Death knell for Press freedom
As Crisis Coalition we have always held that we no longer have any confidence in the judiciary, has been severely politicised. Yesterday’s Supreme Court judgment endorsing the constitutionality of Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act as constitutional despite a contrary view expressed by some legal analysts is cause for concern to all of us who cherish freedom of expression and media pluralism.

The judgment by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku against the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe indicates that freedom of the press, which is one of the basic tenets of a sound democracy are a mirage in Zimbabwe. As rightly pointed out by Justice Wilson Sandura, the idea of compulsory accreditation for the journalists is ultra vires the constitution.

As Crisis Coalition our problem with AIPPA is not only its unconstitutionality but also its selective application. AIPPA has created two media worlds in Zimbabwe. One world is that of the independent press that is continuously arraigned before the courts on trumped up charges for failing to uphold AIPPA and the other world of the public media that is yet to feel the bite of the same law since its promulgation in 2001.

There have been numerous instances where reporters employed by the government-controlled Herald and the Sunday Mail have fallen foul of the provisions of AIPPA, which prohibit the deliberate publication of false information, but much to our surprise nothing has been done.

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition fact sheet

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