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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles


  • August Monthly Roundup - Peace Watch 10/2010
    Veritas
    Septebmer 05, 2010

    Once a month Peace Watch will be sending out a summary of events and issues of interest to peace workers highlighting reports of political violence, reports on Zimbabwe that have been launched, examples of peace initiatives from Zimbabwe and from other countries, training, workshops and other peace-related news. Information sources are given and where full reports can be obtained.

    Constitution Related Violence

    ZZZICOMP [the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the Zimbabwe Peace Project and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights joint Constitution Monitoring Project] has observers attending the constitution-making process outreach meetings, reporting on proceedings including incidents of violence or intimidation. [electronic version of report available from: zzzicomp@gmail.com]

    End of July weekly report: presents outreach-related experiences between 26 July and 1 August particularly focusing on incidents that either enabled or disabled the consultation process. Topics that are covered are: Constituencies covered, Meetings held, Profile of Outreach Meetings: e.g. Highly, lowly attended meetings, statistics of who attended, age, gender, etc. Furthermore the report characterises the operational environment of many provinces as having a climate of fear, with outreach consultations remaining stressed and prone to incidents of intimidation, coaching, political interference and breaches of freedom of speech.

    Baseline report: released on June 16 gives an overview of what they have observed so far of the Constitutional Outreach Programme. The report traces the process so far, criticising the massive delays in the roll-out, lack of inclusion and consultation of and with civil society. The report highlights that the conditions for people to participate freely and fairly have been marred by recurring violence. Violence, human rights abuses and “coaching” of peasants on how to vote in the anticipated constitutional referendum is underway in most parts of the country. Cases of torture, assault and other forms of intimidation in which ZANU-PF youths, the police and the army are implicated have been reported. A graph shows the widespread prevalence of constitution-related violence in Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces between January and March this year. Of the 251 incidents of violence documented, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central had the highest combined total of 73.

    Intimidation of farm workers attending outreach meetings: General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) said farm workers, especially those from Mashonaland Central and West, have been forced to voice certain positions at outreach meetings and are being silenced on issues related to land. [report available at http://www1.voanews.com]

    Crisis Coalition Daily Catalyst Reports on Outreach: [24th August] Political differences caused temporary disruption at an outreach meeting held at Chengeta Primary School in Chegutu, Mashonaland West. The Crisis Coalition observer reported that a brawl started when the ZANU-PF team leader refused to capture a contribution and the MDC team member said their mandate was to capture the contributions of the people and not to qualify them. The ZANU-PF team leader proceeded to insult the MDC team member. The disruption caused some participants to abandon the meeting. [Crisis reports available from: publications@crisis.co.zw].

    Sokwenele Constitution Roundup: gives comments from independent radio reports on violence connected with the constitution-making process and sums up with the opinion that “Characteristic to the 2008 election period ZANU-PF has engaged the use of chiefs, war vets and militia to attack MDC and effectively undermine the constitution making process. Reports of assaults, displacements, arrests and harassments continue to be received and many people are now too afraid to contribute freely at the outreach meetings.” [available on: newsletter@sokwanele.com]

    • SW Radio Africa list violent incidents reported from Zvimba West, Headlands, Hurungwe, Uzumba and Guruve South
    • VOA News reported that Zimbabwean teachers unions said their members have again, as in 2008, become targets of political violence intended to silence them in the constitution public outreach process. The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe charged that a new wave of violence is rising against teachers under an operation alleged to be mounted by ZANU-PF called “Operation Vharamuromo” [Shona for “Operation Close Your Mouth”], intended to suppress non-ZANU-PF views.

    Reports of Politically Motivated Violence and Arrests

    Most of these incidents are also related to the constitution-making process outreach meetings.

    Arrests and abduction of MDC members in Manicaland and Masvingo: During the month of August, war veterans and ZANU PF militia were reported to be terrorising locals in Chipinge and Masvingo province, beating up MDC members and those believed to be opposed to President Mugabe. [sources: http://news.radiovop.com / http://www.swradioafrica.com]

    Masvingo: Masvingo Ward 4 councillor and the director of elections were arrested on August 18, accused of disrupting a ZANU PF meeting related to the constitution outreach programme. Police were reported to be hunting down five more MDC officials who they claim were involved in the same incident. MDC-T Deputy Minister of Youth Development and Empowerment and three party legislators were arrested by police in Masvingo on allegations of public violence. COPAC was forced to suspend outreach meetings in Masvingo after. MDCT- T youth chairman for Bikita David Hollman’s homestead was burnt after war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda addressed a rally in the area. Sibanda allegedly warned MDC-T supporters that war veterans would repeat what they did in June 2008. At least 10 meetings had been scheduled for Masvingo the following day and they were all cancelled. COPAC co-chairperson, Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the developments, revealing that Sibanda had been ordered to leave Masvingo in order to make the environment conducive for villagers to give free and voluntary comments. [Note There have been several press reports alleging war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda to be a key figure in targeting people who wanted to speak freely during the ongoing constitutional outreach.]

    Manicaland: 7 MDC-T Members were abducted at gunpoint in Ward 7, Chimanimani East by state security agents and a ZANU (PF) Manicaland provincial member. The State security agents accused the seven of being too vocal at a constitution-making outreach meeting held in the area.

    Zimbabwe Peace Project [June Report]

    The month of June witnessed cases of assaults, harassment and intimidation throughout the country. Seven out of the country’s ten provinces recorded an increase in incidents of politically motivated violations and the majority of these have been tied to the ongoing constitution-making process. Cases of intimidation and harassment remained high in Mashonaland Central, Midlands, Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland East provinces. The violations were perpetrated by war veterans, ZANU PF youths and members of the State security agencies, including the police, soldiers and Central Intelligence Organisation [CIO] operatives. Threats to civil society work have continued unabated with arrests and threats to arrest human rights defenders from the police and political party leaders having been recorded during the month under review.

    Other Incidents of Concern

    State prosecutors tortured: Two State prosecutors who were based in Matobo in Matabeleland South province fled the country earlier this month, after they were severely tortured for their role in sending three war veterans to prison for stock theft. In July, the State eventually convicted the war veterans were sentenced to 15 year jail terms for stealing cattle from a farm that belonged to the late Matabeleland South Governor, Stephen Nkomo. But mystery surrounds the release of the three war vets from incarceration barely three weeks into their long prison terms. When they were released they reportedly teamed up with CIO operatives in Matobo to crack down on the prosecutors. The two prosecutors are now safe in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    Police torch shacks and arrest settlers: Police torched more than 100 shacks at an informal settlement in Borrowdale. The police ordered the settlers to remove their possessions from the shacks and go and build homes in their rural areas. After 10 minutes elapsed, the police details ordered all the settlers to get into the police vehicle and proceeded to torch at least a hundred shacks. The settlers were then detained in the cold weather until the early hours of the morning when they were taken to Harare Central Police Station. Lawyers were denied access to the settlers by the Criminal Investigation Department section represented by one Superintendent Muchengwa, who advised them that their clients would only be allowed legal representation once they have been formally charged.

    Reports Launched

    Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum: “Taking transitional justice to the people – Outreach Report Volume 2”. This report sets out the experiences of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, its members and associates, who conducted outreach meetings in fifty-one constituencies in its community-based programme to take the concept of transitional justice to the community. The overriding plea of all the participants was for truth recovery and truth disclosure to redress the human rights abuses of the past and in so doing foster true national reconciliation.

    ZimRights has produced a national healing documentary titled “Article VII Voices for Healing” giving people in grassroots communities a chance to speak out on the direction the national healing process should take, on who should lead the process and what should be done to bring about true healing in the country. It emerged that most communities would like the process to be decentralised so that they can dictate the pace of healing and reconciliation for themselves. People have indicated that the national healing organ must not prescribe solutions, but should carry out consultations on how communities want the process to be done. [available from: cmanjoro@ZimRights.co.zw]

    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition report “Cries from Goromonzi - Inside Zimbabwe's Torture Chambers” seeks to expose torture camps, the prevalence of the use of torture and act as a catalyst for security sector reforms in Zimbabwe. [available from: info@crisis.co.zw] [Extracts from this report were in Peace Watch 4/2010].

    Training, Workshops and Conferences

    “Movies That Matter” supports Human Rights Film Screenings Worldwide: Deadline: 15 September 2010. Movies that Matter offers modest financial assistance and advice. It supports human rights film projects like mobile cinemas, human rights film festivals, travelling film festivals, outreach programmes, translation and subtitling of relevant human rights films and educational activities at schools and universities. [find out more from: http://www.moviesthatmatter.nl/international]

    Course on African Transitional Justice: The Institute for African Transitional Justice (IATJ) is hosting a short course on African Transitional Justice in Kampala, Uganda from 21 – 27 November 2010. This residential course will consist of a series of interactive lectures, workshops, and round table discussions focusing on the theme “Addressing Transitional Justice in the Context of African Challenges”. [for details see: http://www.refugeelawproject.org]

    On-line Peace and Conflict Course: The University for Peace (UPEACE) is offering an online course on “Peace and Conflict Studies; The Foundation Course”. This is a 10-week course, from 4 October to 10 December 2010. The course will be delivered by UPEACE faculty members: Dr. Amr Abdalla and Dr. Victoria Fontan. It focuses on understanding the complex and interconnected challenges to peace, as well as the need for different approaches to meeting these challenges. [for more information see: http://www.upeace.org/elearning/courses]

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