Back to Index
Monitor - Issue 41
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
April 19, 2010
PDF version (1.4MB)
If you do not have the free Acrobat reader
on your computer, download it from the Adobe website by clicking
Uncertainty over the
country's future shadowed this year's 30th independence anniversary
with many a people yet to enjoy the freedoms which were fought for.
The 15 month-old
shaky coalition government has failed to stop continuing rights
abuses, resurgent clampdown on civil society work and a dire humanitarian
situation that has left Zimbabweans more worried about their future
than before. Just last week, members of the Woman
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were arrested for simply expressing
their displeasure with how the power utility Zimbabwe Electricity
Authority (Zesa) has been giving citizens a raw deal.
Four Woza leaders Jenni
Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani
will remain in custody until Tuesday 20 April when they will be
taken to court.
"The continued detention
of the women is once again a clear indication that harassment of
human rights defenders continues unchecked under the government
of national unity and makes a mockery of the Independence celebrations
that no doubt will be taking place across Zimbabwe this weekend.
There is very little to celebrate in the cold, dark, filthy cells
of Harare Central Police Station," said Woza in a statement
London based human rights
watchdog Amnesty International said it was concerned about the failure
of the coalition government to end the harassment and intimidation
of human rights defenders.
"This year's Independence
Day should be a time of reflection for the people of Zimbabwe, especially
those who are in power. Many Zimbabweans are not enjoying the freedom
and dignity that should have come with independence."
the expectations of independence from colonial rule was that human
rights will be enjoyed by all. It was expected that mob rule would
not be tolerated and yet we see those implicated in torture, political
killings, and many awful forms of inhuman and degrading treatment
enjoying total impunity," said Simeon Mawanza, the Amnesty
International's Africa researcher, to The Legal Monitor. An Amnesty
International delegation was in the country last month when Okay
Machisa, the director of the ZimRights
was briefly detained by police at Harare Central police station.
Police confiscated photographs which were part of an exhibition
on the 2008 human rights violations which Machisa was coordinating.
It was only after the intervention of ZLHR lawyers who applied for
and got a High Court order that the photographs were released by
the police. In an almost similar case, Bulawayo-based artist, Owen
Maseko, was arrested and detained after he organised an art
exhibition on the Gukurahundi atrocities that took place in the
It seems the government
continues to follow the paths of the colonial regime led by Ian
Smith which used to suppress citizens, according to rights groups.
the secretary general of the General
Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ),
Getrude Hambira was forced to flee the country after publishing
a report on ongoing violence on farms.
perpetrators of the post March 2008 are yet to face the wrath of
It seems it is not only
on the political front that many Zimbabweans would not celebrate
this year's 30th anniversary from Great Britain colonial rule. Last
week, the United Nations announced that the country's humanitarian
crisis would continue because of yet another poor yield from the
2009/2010 agricultural season and donor fatigue.
coordinator in Zimbabwe Elizabeth Lwanga appealed to the international
world to assist the troubled country. She said last year's appeal
for $722 million for humanitarian aid, most of which was for food
assistance, had received "relatively successful response".
"Unfortunately, in 2010 we have so far been confronted with
serious cuts in funding. As of today, the CAP (Consolidated Appeal
Process) is funded at 26 percent, an all-time low in the history
of CAP in Zimbabwe," she said, adding; "It is clear that
humanitarian assistance is still urgently required."
For many Zimbabweans,
starvation has become part of their lives over the past decade as
the economy collapsed after President Robert Mugabe sanctioned land
grabbing from white commercial farmers. Thus, for many, the anniversary
will be just another day.
Last year, Mugabe formed
a powersharing government with his foe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
after a disputed election. The fragile coalition has stabilised
the economy but has failed to attract foreign funding to support
economic recovery due to power-sharing disputes between the two
leaders, with Mugabe being accused of resisting full implementation
of the global political agreement that gave birth to the unity administration.
A joint government
and United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) crop
assessment report released last month urged Harare to start emergency
food relief programmes to areas that have been affected by drought,
while 500 000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize should be set aside annually
to mitigate any food deficits.
The joint report follows
projections that up to 11 percent or 200 000 hectares of this year's
maize crop in the southern African country was a total write-off.
Visit the ZLHR
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.