Heal Zimbabwe recorded a total of 27 human rights violations from 13 districts from the 9th – 28th of June 2017. The recorded human rights violations fall into 5 distinct categories that include intimidation with threats of violence or threats of withdrawal of food aid or agricultural inputs, unfair food aid distribution, arson, assault and forced participation (in political meetings, Financial or material contributions). Residents in Chiwundura also faced a violation peculiar to their community only because of the impending by election that is people being forced to go register to vote. Intimidation continues to top the list of human rights violations in local communities with 48% (13 cases) recorded this period, followed by forced participation in political gatherings with 34% (9 cases), unfair distribution of food aid and resources 7% (2 cases) assault 7% (2 cases) and arson 4% (1 case). Intimidation and forced contributions or participation in political gatherings dominate the majority of the violations, largely attributed to the fact that the perpetrators are harvesting from fear of past human rights violations notably the 2008 political violence. Another factor contributing to the high number of intimidation cases and forced participation in political gatherings (5 Cases) is the pending Chiwundura by election that is to be conducted on the 15th of July 2017. The continued intimidation and harassment particularly of known opposition members is likely to intensify as the nation approaches the 2018 national elections.
2. Nature of Violations Recorded.
3. Number of Cases Recorded by District
In view of the above distribution of violations within the observed 13 Districts, intimidation remain a concern with 13 cases recorded in 9 Districts save for Sanyati, Makonde, Gokwe South, Masvingo and Insiza. Forced contributions registered a total of nine cases with Mutare urban, Muzarabani North and Chiwundura recording two cases each whilst Masvingo, Hurungwe and Makonde registered one case each. The recurrence of intimidation is a clear indication that it will intensify as the elections draw closer. The perpetrators are largely ZANU PF local leadership at the community level, village heads and councillors. These perpetrators take advantage of past human rights violations in the previous 2008, and 2013 elections. The perpetrators are largely harvesting from fear as they continue to target the same victims who are largely opposition supporters whom they continually threaten and remind of past violent episodes. In this regard, Heal Zimbabwe notes that the increased levels of fear compromise communities’ participation in civic and other democratic processes.
4. Our Intervention on Human Rights Violations.
Heal Zimbabwe’s objective under its early warning and early response department is to monitor, detect, document and respond to cases of human rights violations in order to ensure protection and assistance of victims of human rights violations so that they are able to access justice and requisite psycho-social services. One of the cases the organisation followed up was from Sanyati where a victim was assaulted by ZANU PF supporters. On the 25th of June 2017, MDC chairperson for ward 8 Cosmas Katsuro in Sanyati village 9 was heavily assaulted by ZANU PF supporters identified as Tonderai Wadesango, William Ruzvidzo, Emmanuel Ruzvidzo, Brighton Ruzvidzo and Patrick Musona for wearing an MDC T regalia. The victim was watching a community soccer match at Jompani Business centre in village 9. Tonderai Wadesango, who claimed to be the provincial chairperson for ZANU PF called and compelled the victim to burn his party regalia. The victim burnt the regalia and went back to watch soccer, he then met a group of people who forced him to leave the soccer field. He argued that he wanted to watch the match since he had agreed to burn his regalia but it landed on deaf ears as William Ruzvidzo, Brighton Ruzvidzo, Emanuel Ruzvidzo and Patrick Musona started assaulting him. The matter was reported to the Sanyati ARDA police station and the case was recorded under docket RRB2039782 by Sergeant Charamba but no arrests were made leading to Heal Zimbabwe referring Mr Katsuro to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) for legal assistance. He is also currently receiving treatment at a local institution. All the 27 cases recorded by HZT during this period were forwarded to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), which has the constitutional obligation to protect and promote human rights in the country.
Heal Zimbabwe noted with great concern the recurrence of intimidation in rural communities. The intimidation is largely been committed by ZANU PF local leadership such as cell, ward and district chairpersons and traditional leaders such as village heads and councillors. The increase in cases has also been exacerbated by the impending by election in Chiwundura Constituency. Heal Zimbabwe will continuously monitor and offer rapid response assistance to victims if need arises.
Annexure: Specific Cases Recorded:
Hurungwe West ward 24- Intimidation.
ZANU PF Chairperson for Chirota District, James Madzira threatened MDC supporters with death if they continue campaigning for their party in the district. The threats came during a community meeting at Big Deve on the 17th of June 2017 in ward 24.
Makonde ward 16- Harassment.
Village head Matiriri from ward 16, Makonde who was in the company of his secretary forced community members in Matiriri village to join ZANU PF cell structures on the 24th of June 2017. Matiriri highlighted that he received an order from ZANU PF District Chairperson Bruce Pedzisai to conduct the cell restructuring process.
Sanyati ward 8- Assault
On the 25th of June 2017, MDC chairperson for ward 8, Cosmas Katsuro from Sanyati was heavily assaulted by ZANU PF supporters identified as Tonderai Wadesango, William Ruzvidzo, Emmanuel Ruzvidzo, Brighton Ruzvidzo and Patrick Musona for wearing an MDC T regalia. The victim was watching a community soccer match at Jompani Business centre in village 9. Tonderai Wadesango, who claimed to be the provincial chairperson for ZANU PF called and compelled him to burn his party regalia. The victim burnt the regalia and went back to watch soccer, he then met a group of people who forced him to leave the soccer field. He argued that he wanted to watch the match since he had agreed to burn his regalia but it landed on deaf ears as William Ruzvidzo, Brighton Ruzvidzo, Emanuel Ruzvidzo and Patrick Musona started to assault him. The matter was reported to the Sanyati ARDA police station and the case was recorded under docket RRB2039782 by Sergeant Charamba but to date not arrest were made.
Mberengwa North ward 12- Intimidation.
ZANU PF District Chairperson, Joshua Dzandasara and ward 12 Councillor, Trust Shava moved around villages writing down people’s names and identification numbers arguing that they were “preparing” for the 2018 elections. This took place at Chidembeko Business Centre ward 12 on Wednesday, 21 June 2017.
Mberengwa North ward 35- Intimidation.
War Veteran Ngonidzashe Maidza moved around the community writing down names of community members in ward 35 arguing that the names were part of ZANU PF’s election preparations. This took place on the 24th of June 2017 at Mt Belingwe Business Centre.
Gokwe South ward 24- Unfair Food Aid Distribution.
On the 9th of June 2017, ZANU PF ward 24 chairperson, Judas Murakatira together with Mr Murefu distributed food aid from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social welfare to ZANU members only at Mutimutema Business Centre in Gokwe South. Murakatira ordered that opposition supporters must not receive food aid in the area until they join ZANU PF.
Chiwundura ward 9- Intimidation
On the 22nd of June 2017 in Chiwundura ward 9, ZANU PF Branch Chairman Farai Mapungu intimidated community members at a ZANU PF meeting conducted on the 22nd of June 2017 in Gokomara village. He threatened them with evictions and assault if they fail to attend future ZANU PF meetings in the area.
Chiwundura ward 9- Intimidation and harassment.
On the 26th of June 2017, ZANU PF official Clifford Ndengezi moved around villages near Gambiza Growth Point forcing people to go register to vote and vote for the ZANU PF candidate in the 15 July by election. He was moving with an ex-soldier popularly known as Saungwema who threatened community members with death if ZANU PF does not win resoundingly in the plebiscite.
Chiwundura ward 9
On Tuesday 27 June 2017, ZANU PF District chairperson BK Muzila embarked on a door to door campaign exercise were he threatened village heads with demotion if they do not convince community members to vote for ZANU PF in the pending plebiscite.
Hurungwe West ward 9- Intimidation.
On the 19th of June 2017, Village heads Doctor Mazorodze and Dennis Marowa instructed all community members to go attend a ZANU PF rally called by the Hurungwe West MP Guzah at Mutora Business Centre. The village heads indicated that those who defy would be beaten up and also face eviction from the area.
Insiza North- Arson and Assault
The house belonging to Energy Nxumalo was burnt down by ZANU PF supporters under the leadership of ZANU PF District Chairman Sam Mathe and teacher at a local primary school and Edith Gumbo the councillor for ward 22 on the 11th of June 2017. The victim is a village head in Nsango Village under Chief Jahana. The house was burnt soon after Nxumalo was appointed a village head by Chief Johana. The perpetrators accuse Chief Johana of being an MDC T supporter which they allege informed his choice of village head Nxumalo whom they also accuse of being a staunch MDC T activist. Nxumalo’s 13 year old son was also stabbed during the attack and was admitted at Mpilo hospital in Bulawayo. The skirmishes left the victim’s 70 year old mother homeless as she was the one staying at the homestead. The matter was reported to Fort Rixon police station but no arrests have been made to date.
Mt Darwin ward 34-Intimidation.
ZANU PF youth, John Karikoga and Fonas Mudzedzereki threatened village head Webster Kabongane with death after he refused to chant the ZANU PF slogan at a ZANU PF meeting at Pakamutsenzere Primary School on the 19th of June 2017.
Muzarabani North- Discrimination on political party basis.
The ZANU PF District Chairman Denshot Mazarura, Muzarabani South Legislator Alfred Mafunga and ZANU PF ward chairman Ringson Chinyere took over a staff recruitment exercise at COTTCO centre where they considered people with ZANU PF membership cards only and turned away known opposition supporters. They also ordered those who were recruited to first chant ZANU PF slogans before they were considered. This took place on the 22nd of June 2017.
Muzarabani North ward 8- Intimidation and Harassment.
The ZANU PF District Chairman Denshot Mazarura confronted and intimidated Mr Drymond, a white farmer in Muzarabani ward 8. Mazarura confronted Drymond and threatened to chase him away from his farm after he purchased red work suits for his workers. Mazarura accused Drymond of being an MDC T supporter by virtue of purchasing red work suits for his workers. This took place on the 24th of June 2017 at ARDA farm.
Muzarabani North ward 22-Intimidation.
On the 28th of June 2017 in village 1, Councillor Sarudzai Mutyavaviri and Tatenda Mudzavani (ZANU PF youth leader ) called for a public meeting where they addressed and threatened community members with violence if they do not vote for ZANU PF in the 2018 general elections.
Nyanga Ward 2 – Partisan Distribution of aid.
ZANU PF ward 2 Councillor Joseph Kadyausuma denied opposition supporters rice from the Presidential scheme. Kadyausuma highlighted that all opposition supporters were not going to receive the rice until they join the ruling party. The rice was distributed to ZANU PF supporters only. This took place on the 23rd of June 2017 at Avilla Mission.
Nyanga Ward 16-Intimidation and Harassment.
Acting Chief and also ZANU PF Provincial Secretary, Victor Saunyama and ZANU PF District Chairperson Teddius Chitsuma on 20 June called for a meeting in Ruchera village with village heads and ordered them to mobilise community members to vote for ZANU PF in the 2018 elections. Saunyama and Chitsuma instructed the village heads to write down names of all opposition supporters.
Mutare ward 15- Forced contribution to political party activities.
Residents of Destiny Park in Dangamvura ward 15 were forced to make $1 contributions per household on the 10th of June 2017 by Destiny for Africa Network officials acting on instructions from Obadiah Musindo the leader of Destiny for Africa Network. The money was meant to buy a stone sculpture of President Mugabe. The stone sculpture was handed over to the President on the 16th of June 2017 in Mutare during the ZANU PF youth interface rally. The residents were all ordered to attend the rally at Sakubva stadium as a way of showing their allegiance to the President.
ZANU PF youths moved around schools ordering school authorities to release buses that were used to ferry ZANU PF supporters to the rally that was attended by the President at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare on the 16th of June 2017. Notable buses present at the rally include St Columbus Secondary School, Mutambara Secondary School, Marange Secondary School, Mweya Mutsvene and Gaza high school among many other buses.
Nyanga South-Politicisation of community initiatives.
Nyanga South Legislator and Minister for Information, Communication and Technology and Courier Services Hon Supa Mandiwanzira forced farmers to chant ZANU PF slogans during a community Horticulture field day in Mapagu Nyanga on 24 June 2017. This was regardless of the fact that the farmers were coming from different political persuasions.
Masvingo Province Resident Minister Shuvai Mahofa announced that all schools in the Province should provide buses to ferry people to Mucheke Stadium for President Mugabe’s rally that was conducted on the 30th of June 2017. She said this at a meeting at Civic centre in Masvingo, on 27 June 2017. Great Zimbabwe University and RCZ University were also ordered to provide buses whilst all civil servants were instructed to pay a $1 each as contributions.
Heal Zimbabwe gathers the information from trained resident human rights monitors( HRMs). The organisation has 210 trained HRMs from 210 constituencies. It also has 190 HRMs drawn from the most politically volatile areas. The organisation also has 4 000 early warning and early response committee members drawn countrywide. The information has been rigorously verified and authenticated.Post published in: Featured