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September Monthly Roundup – Peace Watch 10/2010
Veritas
October 10, 2010

Monthly Roundup

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

Reports from ZZZICOMP which has accredited observers attending the constitution-making process outreach meetings:

The August Country-Wide report records an increasing number of incidents of violence or intimidation during the outreach consultations. The following is a brief extract from the report: “in rural communities, outreach violations remain systematically organized and are committed through an array of strategies. The month under review recorded an outreach violation toll of 2359, pointing to an increase from the 1555 that were recorded in July. Of the August record, 30% [699] were coaching incidents, 27% [643] political interference, 32% [547] freedom of speech violations, 20% [461] harassment and 0.3% [9] violence.”

Harare/Bulawayo Report states that while constitution outreach consultations in Bulawayo went ahead as planned under relatively peaceful and inclusive circumstances, though with a few isolated incidents, those in Harare had to be abandoned midstream because of deep-seated inter-party violence. The nature of violations swung from subtle to extreme forms of violence, culminating with the death of Crispen Mandizvidza. A total of 307 outreach violations were recorded in Harare and Bulawayo during the period under review with an incident spread of 78 cases of coaching, 77 of political interference, 72 of harassment and 8 of violence. Politically motivated violence, intimidation, verbal threats, racial intolerance, assaults, fistfights, whistling and booing of participants presenting different views, bussing-in of participants, among other things, characterized outreach consultations, with Mbare, Budiriro, Greystone Park and Dvivarasekwa as lead hotbeds of politically motivated violence. A politically electric atmosphere prevailed at almost all outreach meetings.

Further Reports

Mbare resident dies after assault during the constitution-making process: Crispen Mandizvidza, a Mbare resident, died after he was assaulted during the Harare constitution-making process. Mandizvidza died as a result of complications from the ruptured bowel he sustained after being assaulted on the abdomen with blunt weapons. Mandizvidza was one of 11 Mbare residents and MDC supporters who were assaulted by ZANU PF youths, supporters and some uniformed members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police [ZRP] on September 19 after attending a Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee [COPAC] meeting at Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare. The meeting was aborted after violence broke out.

In Kadoma: COPAC team leader and Bindura South Member of Parliament Bednock Nyaude was assaulted beginning of September by a COPAC rapporteur

The Mudzi community voiced grave concerns in connection with the constitution-making process, with high levels of coaching and intimidation of citizens by ZANU PF in the area. It was reported that villagers were divided into 17 groups based on the thematic areas and furnished with answers to different talking points by leaders of the political party. It was further alleged that once a week, meetings are convened where villagers are threatened with unspecified action if they fail to give ‘appropriate’ responses. [Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition]

Manicaland: Blessing Matake, the MDC Organising Secretary for Buhera South district, was abducted by four armed and unidentified men at Birchenough Bridge business centre on September 22 ahead of the COPAC meetings in Buhera South. This was after the cancellation of 39 COPAC meetings in Manicaland in September because of violence being perpetrated by Zanu (PF) supporters and war veterans [5 in Makoni, 11 in Chipinge, 7 in Nyanga, 9 in Makoni South, 4 in Headlands, 2 in Makoni Central and 1 in Makoni West.] Muchauraya the MDC- T MP for Makoni South claimed all disturbances were reported to the police but nothing had been done and no one had been arrested. Instead of the police arresting the perpetrators of the violence, they arrested the injured MDC members. Where ZANU PF supporters are outnumbered at outreach meetings, their representatives on outreach teams now resort to boycotting the meetings, forcing an abandonment of the proceedings.

Women Arrested During Peace March

WOZA members arrested: 600 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe marched to Parliament in Harare to mark International Peace Day. The aim of the peaceful protest was to highlight community safety issues and police behaviour in communities. 25 members were arrested at Parliament and taken to Harare Central Police Station. 59 more handed themselves in, in solidarity with their arrested comrades. It took over 48 hours for them to be released, after they had been refused permission to receive food and one of them had been heavily assaulted.

Violence on Farms and against Farm workers

BIPPA protected farm burned: Catherine Jouineau-Meredith's Twyford Farm was burned mid September. The alleged perpetrator, a Senator, is also alleged to have led violent attacks on the property since last year. As a French citizen Jouineau-Meredith is meant to be protected by a bilateral investment protection agreement signed between France and Zimbabwe. But this BIPPA, like others meant to protect foreign-owned land in Zimbabwe, has been completely ignored. Jouineau-Meredith also has a High Court order from 2007 recognising her rights to the farm.

General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe [GAPWUZ] reported that a team they sent to hand over mealie-meal and other food to 180 former farm workers, who were rendered jobless after the farm they worked on was taken over last year, were forcibly prevented from doing so by the new farm owner’s guards

Other Incidents of Concern

Chiadzwa villagers being harassed by soldiers and relocated: Since government declared Chiadzwa a protected zone, dozens of families have since been relocated to Odzi's Transau Farm against their wish. Currently 44 Families are resisting relocation, demanding full compensation for their properties first. They are also complaining the soldiers in the area have stopped public transport from operating near Chiadzwa so villagers are being forced to disembark from buses and walk long distances of up to 20km to their homes. Manicaland provincial administrator Fungai Mbetsa said the government was still trying to negotiate in good faith, but villagers are unhappy with the promise that full compensation would only be paid when they are at permanent structures; for now they would be paid US$1 500 disturbance allowances. betsa said it was improper to pay for compensation now when the families are not yet properly settled since Arda Transau Farm in Odzi is only a provisional settlement. At least 12 families initially settled at Arda Transau Farm complain of inadequate housing for their families. The families also want the issue of farming land resolved promptly so they can begin land preparation ahead of the rainy season.

Jamming of short wave broadcasts from SW Radio Africa: Using a heavy noise like a slow playing record, some of our programming and news bulletins have been drowned out.”

Zimbabwe war veterans national chairman Jabulani Sibanda intidmidating Zaka people: Sibanda is reported to be conducting rallies warning villagers that he was "sent to warn all sell-outs in the area that Zanu (PF) is ready to kill them if they fail to join his party before campaigns for next elections has begun”.

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s statement on the Human Rights Commission: The Minister has said that a Bill is being drafted to flesh out the bare bones of the Constitution’s provision for the new Human Right Rights Commission. He has said the Commission will not investigate human rights violations that were committed before the formation of the inclusive government. This has disturbed many Zimbabweans who hoped that the Commission would be tackling such issues elections violence over the last ten years, Murambatsvina and, going further back, the Gukurahundi.

Genocide Watch Statement on Zimbabwe

The Gukurahundi massacres that saw tens of thousands of innocent Zimbabweans killed in the mid eighties, have been classified as genocide by the internationally recognized group Genocide Watch. For full statement email genocidewatch@aol.com or visit http://www.genocidewatch.org

Training, Workshops and Conferences

Gender and Conflict transformation: 11 Oct - 5 Nov 2010. The aim of the course is to empower women to become key agents in conflict transformation. Specific aims of the course are: develop strategies to overcome gender specific barriers in conflict transformation, provide inspiring examples, share experiences, and connect the local and international level. For more details: http://www.netuni.nl/demos/genderconflict/index.html.

Human Rights-based development learning program: 1-10 December 2010 in Malaysia. The programme will take participants on a ten day intensive but enjoyable learning journey that will equip the participants with knowledge of the key elements of human rights-based development, and enhance skills for its practical application. Participants will see the link between human rights and development, and become more committed to the work ahead to achieve the unified human rights and development vision of human dignity for all.
http://www.dignityinternational.org/dgi/news.php

Expert Training Programme on Peace Building, Conflict Transformation and Post-War Recovery and Reconciliation: 1 – 5 November, 2010 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. PCTR provides a global policy and operational overview of the latest lessons learned, tools, and methods in peacebuilding, conflict transformation and post-war stabilization and recovery, bringing together experienced practitioners and policy makers from governments, the United Nations, EU, national and international organisations and agencies.

For more information visit http://www.patrir.ro/training

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