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Traditional leader breaches constitutional duty
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
May 02, 2011

More that eighty people converged at Gwavi, under Chief Nemagwe area, in Gokwe, Midlands Province, where ZimRights conducted an anti-torture meeting.

Participants iterated that people in Gokwe are living in constant fear as was evidenced by the failure by other people to attend the meeting. Village head Gwafa reportedly instructed people not to attend any workshop conducted by civic society groups arguing that they were trying to encourage villagers to join the MDC formations. It is also said that, he told villagers that the two MDC formations in the coalition government were not going to carry out any activities in that are in terms of campaigning in the next elections and anyone aligned to them will be expelled from the village.

One participant cited that a people driven constitution is the only way to ensure stability and good governance in Zimbabwe. He added that there are individuals within government who yield excess powers hence have remained "untouchable". Participants castigated some traditional leaders who have served interests of political parties at the expense of their communities. Some of the stated examples include their current Chief Nemagwe and his headman. They also emphasised that no one should be above the law regardless of position in government.

A councillor who was present narrated an incident he witnessed where a villager was tortured by police at nearby police base at CMBEE in 2008. He said that the man was beaten up, forced to fetch water and till the officers' garden. Participants stated that security sector reform is one of the key issues that must be addressed to ensure political stability in the country. They added that it is ironic that the police have become the main perpetrators of human rights abuses yet they are mandated to protect them.

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