- Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
- Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
- Counselling Services Unit (CSU)
- Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)
- Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
- Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA)
In Mashonaland Central three (3) staff members at Chaminuka Vocational Training Centre in Mt Darwin tested positive for COVID-19 positive. A staff member at the institution attended the burial of a friend who had succumbed to COVID-19 two weeks ago. The test results have led to tightened travel restrictions in Mt Darwin. At Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo, over 40 staff members at the Opportunistic Infection (OI) Clinic reportedly tested positive to COVID-19. Including these latest confirmations, more than 75% of staff members at Mpilo Central Hospital tested positive for COVID-19. It was reported that staff members who test positive are required to return to work after 10 days of self-isolation without another test being done to check if they are negative.
The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda announced that due to COVID-19, next week’s Cabinet meeting has been rescheduled to 18 August 2020, and that the session will be held on a virtual platform.
Mr Ronald Magweta and Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) have approached the High Court seeking an extension of the starting time of the curfew to 8 pm. This comes after the government imposed a 12-hour dusk-to-dawn curfew which begins at 6 pm ending at 6 am the following day. Mr Magweta and WALPE cited the Minister of Health and Child Care, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, and Police Commissioner-General as respondents in the application. According to Mr Magweta and WALPE, the current curfew is unreasonable because there is an acute shortage of transport in Zimbabwe.
Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Mr Edgar Moyo said the reopening of schools this year hangs in the balance as officials continue to monitor the rising COVID-19 caseload. Last month, the government deferred reopening schools to a later date from the initial July 28 owing to rising cases of local coronavirus transmissions. Government, however, is currently mobilising the required personal protective equipment (PPE) for public learning institutions.
Gweru and Bulawayo residents risked contracting COVID-19 as they jostled to buy subsidised roller meal at DCK Supermarkets. Police in riot gear and soldiers had a torrid time trying to control the swelling crowds at DCK Supermarket in Gweru where the roller meal was being sold at the gazetted price of ZWL70 at a time when some retail shops are charging as much as USD5 for the product. Inside the DCK shop in Gweru, security staff struggled to ensure customers maintain order as they got closer to the tills. In Bulawayo, DCK Supermarket dispatched a truck which sold the roller meal in high-density suburbs. Residents of Cowdray Park and Nkulumane also stampeded to buy the basic commodity without the hustle of going into the central business district of the second capital.
The Deputy Minister for Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Tino Machakaire tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in self-isolation. He also appealed to those that were in contact with him to immediately go for testing. Deputy Minister Machakaire, who becomes the third parliamentarian, but first minister to go public with his COVID-19 status after Ruth Labode and Tongai Mnangagwa who took to his Facebook timeline to announce the test results.
Striking health workers did not receive their July salaries after the Health Services Board (HSB) implemented the no-work-no-pay principle. Nurses have been on strike since June, at a critical time when their services are required in the fight against COVID-19.
On 7 August, Noxolo Maphosa, a niece to Josphat Ngulube was abducted, tortured and sexually assaulted by suspected State security agents. It is alleged that State security agents tortured her to reveal the whereabouts of her uncle and human rights defender Josphat Ngulube who is being hunted in connection with the 31st July protests. It was reported that Maphosa was walking to a butchery near Pick n Pay (Hyper) supermarket in Bulawayo at about 10 am when she noticed four men walking behind her. Shortly after, the men blindfolded and drove her to an unknown location. One of the unknown assailants took a knife, cut open her undergarments and repeatedly assaulted her with logs and sjamboks. The unknown assailants also demanded that she produces her phone she uses for WhatsApp. Maphosa was later driven to Cowdray Park where she was dumped.
On August 5, David Mutendera failed get transport out of Harare CBD. He only managed to get back to Mabvuku at 7 pm after the 6PM COVID-19 induced curfew. Soldiers patrolling the streets in Mabvuku assaulted him using rifle buts and sjamboks for allegedly defying the curfew. He sustained injuries on his face, back and legs.
6.0 Summary of violations
The table below summarises COVID-19 related human rights violations documented by the Forum Secretariat and Forum Members from 30 March to 9 August 2020.
|Nature of Violation||Number of Victims||Location|
|Assault||278||Harare, Zvishavane, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Wedza, Chinhoyi, Zaka, Gweru, Chitungwiza, Bindura, Nembudziya, Chiredzi, Marondera, Mutoko, Chivi, Bikita, Zvishavane, Mvurwi, Mutare, Marondera, Beitbridge, Domboshava, Wengezi|
|Attack on Journalists||20||Mutare, Gweru, Chinhoyi, Harare, Chiredzi, Masvingo, Beitbridge, Bulawayo|
|Arrests||511||Masvingo, Gokwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Hwange, Harare, Magunje, Lupane, Norton, Bikita, Mutasa, Chitungwiza, Nkayi, Makoni, Chipinge, Beitbridge, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Mwenezi, Guruve, Hwange, Murwi, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi, Chiredzi|
The Forum together with Taurai Mbewe, an inmate on remand at a prison in Harare have filed an urgent chamber application to compel the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) to comply with Covid-19 regulations in Prisons. Mbewe has been detained at Harare Remand Prison since 15 June 2020. The applicants allege that the conditions at the place of detention falls short of the minimum requirements set out in the Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) Regulations of 2020. The applicants allege that the risk of contracting the Corona Virus (COVID-19) by the 2nd Applicant during his incarceration, is extremely high, and his apprehension in that regard is reasonable. The same application therefore seeks to compel the ZPCS, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Health and Child Care and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to take adequate measures in their respective roles in preventing risks of Covid-19 infections in prisons.Harare Magistrate Ngoni Nduna Court deferred to Wednesday 12 August 2020 a bail hearing for incarcerated journalist Hopewell Chin’ono. Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa had indicated that she was going to make an application based on changed circumstances. She had intended to have Chin’ono lead evidence showing that continued incarceration in prison will expose him to infection of the corona virus.
In another development, the High Court in Masvingo has set the hearing of the bail appeal for Masvingo Urban Ward 4 Councillor Godfrey Kurauone, to 12 August 2020. Kurauone who is facing charges of criminal nuisance and barricading traffic along Mashava-Zvamahande road on 31 July 2020 was denied bail by Masvingo Magistrate Ms Patience Madondo.
The Forum remains gravely concerned by the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections that continue to rise. The Forum, therefore, urges the government to do the following:
- COVID-19 Taskforce to properly devise and implement strategies that target the hotspots that are contributing to the increase of local transmissions of COVID-19;
- Provide personal protective equipment to all front-line workers and other law enforcement officers to curb in-country transmissions;
- The Ministry of Health to provide adequate personal protective equipment to all health workers at all institutions in the country;
- To ensure adequate dissemination of information to citizens to ensure that they are informed on the COVID-19 pandemic and measures required to curb the spread of infections.
The Forum further notes with concern that the growing trend to delay bail applications or appeals at the courts, at a time when prisons are failing to cope with the numbers of prisoners, and the country is facing the COVID-19 pandemic. The Forum therefore urges the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Judicial Services Commission to intervene and ensure that bail applications are expedited.