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Election Watch Issue No. 11
November 21, 2007
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THE 42nd Ordinary Session
of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights is now underway
in the Congolese capital Brazzaville with Zimbabwe's deteriorating
human rights situation dominating the proceedings.
In his welcoming
remarks, outgoing Commission Vice Chairperson, Commissioner Yassir
Sid Ahmed El Hassan, set the tone when he described the situation
in Zimbabwe as "alarming".
On November 16, SW Radio
Africa reported that the MDC would make further representations
to South African President Thabo Mbeki about the escalation of political
violence and intimidation against its supporters. Secretary for
Home Affairs Sam Nkomo said it was still impossible for the opposition
to hold a public demonstration or political rally. The radio station
noted that scores of MDC supporters had been arrested and assaulted
in Chipinge, Mutare and Bulawayo for holding legitimate consultative
In this issue
we include brief information on the latest
report released by the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum which expresses concern at the upsurge
in politically motivated violence. It has recorded 2 333 cases of
violations on freedoms of association, expression and movement from
January to September 30.
by the International Bar Association has found evidence of police
torture, intimidation and illegal arrests which threaten the parliamentary
and presidential elections scheduled for March next year.
People living in rural
areas continue to experience political repression, which remains
rampant and under-reported. The safety and security of opposition
supporters is under constant threat and during mid November, war
veterans and Zanu PF militia severely assaulted a 59-year-old woman
for wearing an MDC T-shirt and carrying an opposition party umbrella.
A 57 year-old
activist from the pressure group Women
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), who had been arrested on 10 different
occasions and had been physically and mentally abused by the police
each time, has
died. Ninety-eight activists from WOZA and their male counterparts,
who were protesting against escalating state sponsored violence,
arrested by the police earlier this month.
Fifteen opposition activists
were abducted from a house belonging to an MDC member in Chipinge
South and a police chief threatened to invoke the shoot-to-kill
order against MDC activists if they went ahead with a planned rally
on the election front include the appointment of five former government
employees to positions of influence in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The appointments have been condemned by the opposition and civil
Zimbabwe's Defence Minister,
Sydney Sekeramayi, has expressed confidence that the elections scheduled
for next year will be free and fair. "The election will be
held on schedule and as things are now in Zimbabwe the environment
is quiet," he said.
However, a report in
the Zimbabwean Newspaper (November 13) that Mr Mugabe's government
is buying arms from China suggests a different scenario. According
to the article, a shipment of heavy assault rifles, military vehicles
and tanks, riot equipment, tear gas and rubber batons is being secretly
moved through the port of Beira in Mozambique.
that police officers who have recently undergone retraining in public
control and management ahead of the elections confirm that military
trainers as well as police instructors have taken them through rigorous
and intensive physical and weapons handling drills.
The viability of independent
newspapers is under serious threat after government ordered privately-owned
newspapers to slash their cover prices to levels that could force
them to close down.
War veteran leaders are
being paid as much as Z$100 billion, in one instance, for co-ordinating
marches to drum up support for President Mugabe.
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