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Monitoring Report: September 2005
Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
October 19, 2005
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The senate elections penned for
November 26 have attracted much attention and predictably, have
led to clashes between traditional political rivals, the Zimbabwe
African National Union (Patriotic Front) (Zanu PF) and the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).
Human rights violations induced by the
forthcoming elections have mainly been perpetrated in the form of
physical assaults, harassment and intimidations. Since the enactment
of the Constitutional amendment number 17, which saw the reincarnation
of the once-abandoned senate of the early ‘80s, there have been
little calls by the political leadership for party supporters to
be peaceful and tolerant when approaching the senate polls.
Reported cases indicate a significant
increase in some provinces, particularly in the southern region
of Zimbabwe, of cases of violence associated with the forthcoming
Upper House elections.
In Gwanda North constituency in
Matabeleland South, for example on 1 September, Zanu PF supporters
led by J reportedly clashed with MDC activists at Sofa business
centre over the holding of senate elections leading to five people
being injured and hospitalised. It is said the police arrested and
briefly interrogated the perpetrators, mostly Zanu PF before releasing
On 15 September in the same constituency,
it was reported that a group of Zanu PF supporters disrupted an
MDC senate elections preparatory meeting at Kozi business centre
leading to five MDC supporters being injured in the clashes that
followed. The five are CZ, MD, VS, MM and DM.
Pumula-Luveve constituency on 12 September, suspected Zanu
PF supporters, in an act of political narrow-mindedness, reportedly
threatened to assault SS at Pumula shopping centre after accusing
him of fanning anti-senate protests and distributing ‘dangerous’
literature which turned out to be NCA material.
In the Midlands province, there
were also reports of senate elections-related human rights violations.
In Mkoba for example on 9 September, it is alleged that two
Zanu PF youths assaulted GC after he had commented against the setting
up of the senate. The alleged assailants, it is claimed proceeded
to make death threats against the said victim.
Ruling party supporters have been named
as the leading perpetrators of human rights abuses related to the
holding of the November elections. It was reported on September
10 in Kwekwe that groups of Zanu PF youths went on a house-to-house
campaign forcing residents to ‘celebrate’ the enactment of the Constitutional
Amendment Act (number 17).
On a different note, there have been
quite disconcerting reports from Manicaland that church leaders
are victimising people on political grounds. In what is perhaps
a bizarre case in Guta village (Nyadowa area) in Nyanga on 3 September,
an Apostolic Church elder WK reportedly threatened KG and other
church faithful with excommunication from the church if they refused
to join the ruling party.
Despite the government’s efforts to halt
violent farm invasions, Chipinge North is one extremely volatile
constituency where violent farm invasions, perhaps inspired by the
17th Constitutional revision, have increased.
Documents to hand reveal that at least
three farms, namely Ashanti, Brackenridge and Sweet Acres farms
have been invaded by war veterans and Zanu PF youths led by one
JC, a local Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative who
has declared his interests to illegally occupy Brackenridge farm.
DWD, a white commercial farmer of Canadian
extract who owns Brackenridge farm and AW, a white farmer and the
former’s farm manager were allegedly assaulted by Zanu PF youths
in the presence of JM, the intelligence operative on September 20
before JM fired shots just above the said victims’ heads. Investigations
by the ZPP have it that the alleged invaders have been warned by
officials from the District Administrator’s office against invading
Ashanti farm, in which former University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor,
Professor Graham Hill is said to be a shareholder.
The ZPP strongly urges political leaders
to reign in their supporters in order that peace and tolerance be
preserved and upheld. We also urge the same leaders and state arms
like the police and CIO to respect standing court orders barring
them from engaging in illegal activities like farm invasions, assaults,
harassments and intimidations.
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