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Joint statement on escalating violence, increasing instability and
targeted victimization of civil society leaders, the media and ordinary
Civil Society Organisations
February 12, 2011
We as Civil Society Groups
appended below, strongly condemn the resurgence of politically motivated
violence accompanying ZANU PF's preparations for impending
elections. The violence, which is typical of ZANU PF campaign strategies
of the past, has manifested itself in the beatings; harassment and
displacement of over 140 Mbare and Epworth residents; the detention
of CSO leaders and raiding of their offices; the abductions of Civil
Society activists; burning of newspapers; the looting of foreign
African owned shops and the invasion of private property.
have not been spared either. In events reminiscent of the bloody
June 2008 "Presidential Election Run-off", former
liberation war combatants have been deployed in some communities
where they are reportedly harassing and intimidating villagers to
coerce them into voting for ZANU PF under the guise of mobilizing
support for the party's sponsored anti-sanctions petition.
As Civil Society, we
also lament the inaction of the police in maintaining law and order
in the incidents mentioned above, leaving citizens to be brutalized
and businesses looted. The demonstrations against foreign business,
have clearly taken a xenophobic tone, which should not be tolerated
by any right thinking nation, especially one whose citizens have
also been victims of similar attacks in other countries in the recent
The stated police inaction
vindicates Civil Society's long held position against partisan
policing in the country and the need for security sector reforms
that contribute towards guaranteeing the security of Zimbabwean
We note with disappointment
that the country's security sector has not intervened to protect
citizen's rights and interests in keeping with its constitutional
mandate. We also note with concern that Zimbabwe's 7th Parliament
has done little to repeal repressive pieces of legislation and create
an enabling legislative environment for the opening up of democratic
space in the country.
We demand that the Zimbabwean
1. Respect its primary
responsibility of protecting its citizens through arresting the
violence, and ensuring that perpetrators of acts of violence and
intimidation are brought to book.
2. Desist from targeting
Civil Society actors going about their work, through unwarranted
police action and interference.
3. Condemn xenophobic
and racist attacks, which are being carried out under the guise
4. Rein-in their political
followers in order to maintain peace and stability in the country.
5. Respect diversity
and freedom of the media to operate without any hindrance.
6. Ensure the transformation
of the state media, especially ZBC, into true public service news
outlets, which reflect all shades of Zimbabwean opinion.
7. Facilitate the urgent
repeal and amendments to repressive pieces of legislation such as
Public Order and Security Act, Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act, Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and other
laws that impede rather than facilitate Zimbabweans' full
enjoyment of their basic liberties.
8. Urgently reform state
institutions, such as the judiciary and the security sector, in
order for them to execute their duties in a professional and non-partisan
manner that puts the country ahead of partisan interests.
We urge the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Facilitator
of Political Dialogue in Zimbabwe, President Jacob Zuma to:
1. Take note of these
worrying developments in Zimbabwe and weigh them against claims
that the country is ready to conduct Free and Fair Polls in 2011,
2. Urge the parties in
the inclusive government to stop the violence and intimidation.
3. Note that the developing
crisis in Zimbabwe poses a potent threat to regional security through
mass migration of displaced people.
4. Urgently consider
calls by civil society for a closer and permanent monitoring presence
in Zimbabwe, as talk of elections continues to gain momentum amongst
5. Declare that given
the situation on the ground, free and fair elections are not within
the realm of possibility, and that any further talk of elections
should be based on a Road Map to Elections that will lay out clear
benchmarks for the holding of democratic elections. These should
include, among others, dealing with violence and intimidation of
citizens and the removal of impediments to democratic expression
such as repressive laws and unprofessional and partisan conduct
by the justice and security sector parties.
6. Urge the
African Union to come good on its promises of an assessment mission
to Zimbabwe in the 1st quarter of the year to assess Zimbabwe's
readiness for elections.
Given the circumstances, we urge Zimbabweans to:
restraint and desist from being used as instruments of violence
or being provoked by the above actions as they are clearly meant
to justify further crack down on Civil Society, the media and perceived
ZANU PF opponents by the state's arms of cohesion.
2. Stay firm
in their struggle and pursuit of a democratic dispensation that
will restore their human dignity, economic justice and guarantee
their civil liberties, eroded by years of tyrannical rule.
Organizations to the Above Statement
in Zimbabwe Coalition
2. Media Institute
of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe Chapter)
3. Centre for Public Accountability
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
5. Bulawayo Agenda
6. Bulawayo Progressive
7. National Youth
8. National Constitutional
9. Students Solidarity
10. Elections Resource Centre
11. Heal Zimbabwe
12. Zimbabwe Human
Rights Association (ZimRights)
13. Youth Initiative
for Democracy in Zimbabwe
14. Radio Dialogue
15. Youth Forum
16. Youth in Politics
17. Center for
Community Development in Zimbabwe
18. Platform for Youth Development Trust
19. Gays and Lesbians
20. Coalition against Censorship Zimbabwe (CACZ)
21. Bulawayo Arts Forum (BAF)
22. Nhimbe Trust
23. Christian Alliance
24. Ecumenical Support Services
25. Zimbabwe National
27. Zimbabwe Farmers Union Development Trust
29. Zimbabwe Civic
30. Zimbabwe Lawyers
31. Zimbabwe Young Women's Network for Peace-building
32. Doors of Hope Foundation
33. Katswe Sistahood
34. Savanna Trust
35. Media Monitoring
Project of Zimbabwe
36. National Association
for Non Governmental Organizations
of Human Rights
38. Youth Alliance for Democracy
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