Zanu PF violence

Police Brutality is absoluteIn a recent article in the Zanu PF Sponsored "Herald Newspaper", the following article appears on the 1st September 2021 by the infamous UK Mental Health Nurse, Nick Mangwana - strangely enough shortly after the American Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols, had left his post!

The article below flies in the face of reports by the American Embassy in Harare, Amnesty International, Catholic Church Commissioners, United Nations and significant others. We have added in commentary to the verbatim report in the Herlad [all in italics]

The Herald Article in Full: [In Our Opinion a contrived rant, and a tissue of lies designed to confuse and deny all and any wrong doing by Zanu PF in Zimbabwe - and no doubt relayed to the British Government who seem to beleive this diatribe verbatim!]:

""AHEAD of President Mnangagwa’s visit to the United Kingdom, the country’s detractors disguised as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have upped the anti-Government ante as they seek to besmirch the Second Republic through dark operations propaganda. At the centre of the evil machinations are three CSOs, which Government spokesperson Mr Nick Mangwana described as “Zimbabwe axis of evil” namely the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Doctors for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO."" 

""This comes as the so-called human rights organisations have in the past been caught up in embarrassing situations where they tried to use fake abductions to advance the false narrative that there are human rights abuses in the country. Curiously, most of the abductions took place just ahead of crucial global events such as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and other regional meetings. Insiders within CS0s have since revealed that they identify major global events, working with oppositional forces, to stage-manage the abductions to soil the country’s image.""

""To push the anti-Government agenda, some members of the CSOs, specifically Mr Doug Coltart claimed that a military deserter Solomon Chanengeta had been abducted by six men when in fact it is a common procedure. Chanengeta deserted from the Zimbabwe National Army 4 Brigade in Masvingo. He reportedly left the army some three years ago and fled to South Africa without having completed the mandatory three-year probation. He slipped back into the country recently and was domiciled in Karoi. When his superiors established he was back on Zimbabwean soil he was tracked and arrested by the military police in an operation that also involved the Zimbabwe Republic Police.  According to ZNA rules, a person can leave the army after three years in what is known as the probation period, they can also do so after 10 years, they can retire after 20 years or they can leave when they turn 55, unless if there is an extension agreement. Anyone who leaves outside these parameters and without paperwork is considered a deserter and leaving unprocedurally is not taken for granted as the former soldier may be compromised. However, before establishing the facts, a trigger happy Coltart went on to baselessly claim that Chanengeta had been abducted when that was not the case something that Mr Mangwana said comes as little surprise.""

""“Zimbabwe has its axis of evil in the form of the so-called Lawyers for Human Rights, Doctors for Human Rights, and Human Rights NGOs. This threesome is involved in the dark arts of atrocity propaganda. They contrive atrocities and propagate them to bring a negative spotlight on this country.“This tends to unlock funding for their operations under the guise of safeguarding human rights. The pattern is that the moment there is an international gathering and Zimbabwe is involved then it’s time for this triumvirate to sell their souls to the devil."""

""“We are already seeing abduction fabrications and provocations because there is UNGA21 (United Nations General Assembly) soon and COP26 (United Nations Climate Change Conference). This lot can’t stomach that we have a Zimbabwean Head of State going to the UK after 21 years of absence. To them, this should be marred by atrocity propaganda. So while we are not surprised we will not be deterred in exposing it,” he said.""

""Commentators have described President Mnangagwa’s impending visit to the United Kingdom, the first by a Zimbabwean President in more than two decades, as a game-changer as it only ushers in a new phase in the two countries diplomatic relations but also is a testimony of the Second Republic Re-engagement success.""

""In the last few years, Zimbabwe has had five alleged abductions and all five were exposed to have been staged by CSOs to get the world’s attention.""

""Presently, three MDC-A activists, namely Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova are facing charges of faking abductions with former opposition officials revealing that these practices are widespread in the opposition and are arranged to coincide with major international events to tarnish the country’s image.""

""Using the alleged abduction of the trio, MDC Alliance vice president Mr Tendai Biti wrote a letter to the World Bank president, David Malpass claiming that the three were arrested, tortured, and brutally sexually assaulted by the security forces.""

Countering Nick Mangwana' Outrageous Claims

https://kubatana.net/2021/07/01/report-on-organised-violence-and-torture-in-elections-in-zimbabwe/

Report on Organised Violence and Torture in Elections in Zimbabwe

By 1 July 2021Democracy, Human Rights

Whether described as living under “competitive authoritarianism”, “dominant power politics”, or even a “predatory state”, the ruling party, ZANU-PF, has remained in power since 1980, confounding all logic and political science theory. The party won every election during the 1990s, mostly against very weak opposition, but the stakes grew much higher with the emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and elections became hugely competitive, and extremely violent. In fact, it is evident that Zimbabwe is the most violent country in SADC when it comes to elections. From 2000 onwards, the passing grade, usually accorded to Zimbabwe for its elections, changed to a fail, and the combination of violent and flawed elections (together with the problems about property rights that followed the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FPTP), led to Zimbabwe being placed under restrictive conditions by the EU, and both restrictive conditions and sanctions by the US.

Thus, the relationship between Organised Violence and Torture (OVT) and elections became the new focus for human rights monitoring: not exclusively so, as the challenges to ZANU PF’s hegemonic power grew with every passing year, both through elections, but also through the growing discontent of the citizenry for its very poor governance. Nonetheless, it was during elections, both in the lead-up and the aftermath of elections, that the greatest frequency of OVT was recorded. It is also worth pointing out that elections prior to 2000 were also marked by significant political violence, but not on the scale seen subsequent to 2000. Elections since 2000 have been marked also by accusations of electoral irregularities and rigging, and there is a very large literature on all these elections. Whilst rigging and fraud are obviously very serious issues, here we will concentrate on the aspects of all these elections in which OVT was documented.

Is Zimbabwe a "FREE" Country in respect of the Democratic Norms?

https://freedomhouse.org/country/zimbabwe/freedom-world/2021

 Zimbabwe’s status declined from Partly Free to Not Free due to the authorities’ intensifying persecution of opposition figures and civic activists.The Army work for the State - ZANU PF - not the people

The Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has dominated Zimbabwean politics since independence in 1980, in part by carrying out severe and often violent crackdowns on the political opposition, critical media, and other sources of dissent. President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power in 2017 after the military intervened to remove longtime president Robert Mugabe amid factional divisions within the ruling party. However, the new administration has largely retained the legal, administrative, and security architecture it inherited from the Mugabe regime, and it has stepped up repression to consolidate its authority. Endemic corruption, weak rule of law, and poor protections for workers and land rights remain among Zimbabwe’s critical challenges.

 Due to an ongoing economic crisis, many workers are not adequately compensated, and can go unpaid for months. Inflation has accelerated, with the government reporting a figure of 837 percent in August 2020. The International Trade Union Confederation Global Rights Index categorized Zimbabwe as one of the worst countries to work in its 2020 assessment. The government has continued efforts to combat human trafficking, though it remains a serious problem. Men, women, and children can be found engaged in forced labor in the agricultural sector, forced begging, and forced domestic work. Women and girls remain particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking.

 

In complete contrast and providing considerable supporting evidence American Embassy report the following for 2020. 

The recent report published in 2021 on Human Rights by the United States Embassy in Zimbabwe makes ‘difficult’ reading in terms of the abuse that opposition members face and of injustices across many aspects of their constitution. By U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe on 31st March 2021 Topics: Human Rights, News, Press Releases, Reports, U.S. & Zimbabwe

https://zw.usembassy.gov/2020-human-rights-report-zimbabwe/

“Significant human rights issues included: unlawful or arbitrary killings of civilians by security forces; torture and arbitrary detention by security forces; cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; political prisoners or detainees; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; serious government restrictions on free expression, press, and the internet, including violence, threats of violence, or unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists, censorship, site blocking, and the existence of criminal libel laws; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; restrictions on freedom of movement; restrictions on political participation; widespread acts of corruption; lack of investigation of and accountability for violence against women; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting women and girls, and the existence of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults, although not enforced.”

“Impunity remained a problem. The government took very few steps to identify or investigate officials who committed human rights abuses, and there were no reported arrests or prosecutions of such persons.”

“Human rights groups reported government agents continued to perpetrate physical and psychological torture on labor leaders and opposition party members during abductions. Reported torture methods included sexual assault; beating victims with sticks, clubs, cables, gun butts, and sjamboks (a heavy whip); falanga (beating the soles of the feet); forced consumption of human excrement; and oral chemical poisoning, as well as pouring corrosive substances on exposed skin.”

  • “According to NGOs, food shortages were widespread in prisons but not life threatening. Prisoners identified as malnourished received additional meals. The harvest of prison farm products provided meals for prisoners. Protein was in short supply, particularly meat. Prisoners’ access to clean water varied by prison. NGOs worked with prisons to provide enhanced water-collection systems.”
  • “Diarrhea was prevalent in most prisons. Diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS-related illnesses were highest in those with the poorest conditions. Lighting and ventilation were inadequate. There were insufficient mattresses, blankets, warm clothing, sanitary supplies, and hygiene products.”
  • “Judicial corruption was widespread, extending beyond magistrates and judges. For example, NGOs reported senior government officials undermined judicial independence, including by giving homes, farms, and agricultural machinery to judges.”
  • “The constitution provides for the right to a fair and public trial, but political pressure and corruption frequently compromised this right. By law defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence, although courts did not always respect this right.”
  • “There were reports of individuals arrested for political reasons, including opposition party officials, their supporters, NGO workers, journalists, civil society activists, and labor leaders. Authorities sometimes detained such individuals for one or two days and released them without charge. Political prisoners and detainees did not receive the same standard of treatment as other prisoners or detainees, and prison authorities arbitrarily denied visitor access to political prisoners. There were reports police beat and physically abused political and civil society activists while they were in detention.”

'There is widespread concern as to where Zimbabwe is headed': US ambassador 24th August 2020

US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols speaks out for the first time since Zimbabwe's ruling party called him a 'thug'

https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2020-08-24-there-is-widespread-concern-as-to-where-zimbabwe-is-headed-us-ambassador/

The US is rallying the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to play a more assertive role in helping to solve the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.

The US is also urging Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to open dialogue with the opposition.

Speaking for the first time since the ruling Zanu-PF called him a “thug”, US Ambassador to Harare Brian A Nichols, told TimesLIVE SA was leading by example and could achieve success in bringing about change in its neighbouring country.

“This is an opportunity for the institution (Sadc) to stand up to the excesses that are taking place here in terms of human rights abuses. And this is an opportunity for Sadc to promote a more prosperous region,” he said.

Amnesty International also reported considerable problems for ordinary citizens in Zimbabwe in their 2020 report 

https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/africa/southern-africa/zimbabwe/report-zimbabwe/

Excessive use of force

Security forces frequently used excessive force to prevent or crackdown on peaceful protests and to impose lockdown restrictions, killing at least 10 people. Security forces also arbitrarily arrested and detained protesters and others in the context of enforcing COVID-19 measures. In the first four months of lockdown, 116,000 people were arrested for violating COVID-19 regulations. Many were subjected to violence, including a significant number of women. Two sisters, Nokuthula and Ntombizodwa Mpofu, were severely beaten by police on 16 April in Bulawayo when they went out during curfew to buy food for their children.

A joint team comprised of agents of the police, military, the Central Intelligence Organisation, and the Office of the President, known as the “Ferret Team”, terrorized government critics, opposition leaders and activists, and their family members. Many, including several members of the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance (MDC-A), were abducted from police custody, tortured and dumped far from their homes.

 Protests against the Government are not permitted

  • In May, Joana Mamombe, a politician, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were arrested at a police roadblock in the capital, Harare, while they were leading a demonstration against inadequate protection for the poor. They were abducted the same day from Harare Central Police Station by a group of men believed to be from the Ferret Team, who physically and sexually assaulted them and dumped them 87km from their homes in Harare three days later. In June, the State charged the women with faking their abductions and “tarnishing the country’s image”. On 31 July, they were re-arrested at a checkpoint. While they were being held, a soldier whipped Cecilia Chimbiri for allegedly insulting him. In December, in the case relating to the charges connected to their abduction in May, the Harare Regional Magistrate ordered that Joana Mamombe be tried separately from Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova on grounds that she had been declared unfit to stand trial. An application by their lawyers for this order to be reviewed was pending at the end of the year.
  • In the days running up to the July 31 protests, security forces raided the homes of those suspected of supporting the initiative, in some cases vandalizing property.
  • On 30 July, Tawanda Muchehiwa was arrested by police in a shop in Bulawayo. On the way to the police station, the officers handed him over to the Ferret Team, who tortured him to reveal the whereabouts of his uncle, Mduduzi Mathuthu, the editor of online newspaper ZimLive.com. They released him far from his home four days later.
  • The same day, security forces raided Mduduzi Mathuthu’s home, and, when they failed to find him, took away his sister and two of his nephews who were later released after the Media Institute of Southern Africa intervened.
  • The violence continued after July, and on 7 August, four unidentified men abducted Noxolo Maphosa in the street. She was sexually assaulted to force her to reveal the whereabouts of her uncle, Josphat Ngulube, an MDC-A member who had been accused of distributing face masks bearing the slogan “#ZANUPFMustGo” (referring to the ruling party).
  • On 12 August, Tamuka Denhere, another member of the MDC-A, was taken from his home in Gweru city by unidentified men and tortured over several hours. They then handed him over to Harare Central Police Station. Police also arrested his wife after she reported his abduction.

Unlawful killings

  • Police and state security agents unlawfully killed at least 10 people. No meaningful investigations were carried out into these crimes.
  • On 15 March, police went to the home of Bhekani Moyo in Silobela village, in connection with assault allegations, and shot him dead. On 30 March, Levison Moyo was beaten by police in Bulawayo for allegedly violating lockdown restrictions and died four days later from a brain haemorrhage. In May, police, travelling in an unmarked vehicle, shot and killed Paul Munakopa in Hillside, Bulawayo.
  • At least two opposition activists were unlawfully killed. In July, Mazwi Ndlovu, from Bulilima, was killed by agents suspected to be affiliated with ZANU-PF after he raised concerns about the way food was distributed to those in need. A man suspected of killing him was later arrested but released without appearing in court or applying for bail. Also in July, state security agents in Hurungwe abducted, murdered and dumped the naked body of Lavender Chiwaya, an MDC-A councillor, near his home.

Freedom of expression

  • The authorities used COVID-19 restrictions as a pretext to limit civic space and restrict human rights. Section 14 of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 on Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) Regulations, 2020 criminalized the “spreading of false news” about COVID-19 and imposed a 20-year prison sentence and/or a hefty fine. Lovemore Zvokusekwa, from Chitungwiza, a town on the outskirts of Harare, was arrested in April, and accused of circulating a fabricated press statement purporting to be from the President, announcing a lockdown extension. Later that month, the President said he should receive a 20-year prison sentence as an “example” to others. On 30 April, he was released from detention on remand although he faced trial pending possible further investigations by the prosecution. The authorities used further provisions which criminalized people solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, including “undermining the authority of the President” or “insulting” him, to discourage criticism on social media.
  • In March, the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army said that social media was proving a threat to national security and that the military would put private electronic communications under surveillance to “guard against subversion”. Christian Rambu was arrested in Chipinge town in April for distributing a WhatsApp message accusing the President of incompetence. Rujeko Hither Mpambwa, from Kariba, was arrested in August for criticizing on social media the President’s address to the nation.

Journalists

  • Police and military officers used the COVID-19 restrictions as a pretext to justify the harassment and intimidation of journalists and other media workers, at least 25 of whom were assaulted and arbitrarily arrested and detained while working, or on their way to and from work. They were accused of violating lockdown restrictions, disorderly conduct or using expired accreditation documents which, under the COVID-19 regulations, should have been considered valid during lockdown. Journalists were frequently ordered to delete their videos or photographs without a valid reason.

Freedom of assembly

  • The authorities used Section 14 of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 on Public Health to prohibit demonstrations during lockdown.
  • Between March and August, security forces locked down roads to Harare’s central business district to prevent protests in support of prominent activists facing trial.
  • In townships in Harare, officers robbed some people at gunpoint, demanded bribes or severely beat them for breaking lockdown regulations.
  • Dozens of people were arrested for organizing or participating in peaceful demonstrations, including activists Namatai Kwekweza and Vongai Zimudzi, arrested in June for demonstrating against constitutional amendments.
  • In July, at least 17 nurses were prosecuted for violating lockdown regulations after they protested against low wages and poor working conditions at the Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare. They were acquitted of all charges.
  • In the same month, the authorities launched a brutal crackdown on opposition leaders involved in organizing the July 31 protests (see above, Excessive use of force) and on trade unionists who had called for strike action. Throughout July, security forces arrested at least 60 people.
  • On 12 July, unidentified men tried to abduct the brother and nephew of Peter Mutasa – the leader of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions – from his home. On 16 July, a group of men broke into the house of Obert Masaraure, President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), in the early hours, taking his wife into custody for several hours to try to force her to reveal his whereabouts. Three days earlier ARTUZ had organized a demonstration to protest about low wages.
  • An overnight curfew was imposed on 21 July, ostensibly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, but which critics interpreted as a clampdown on protests. On 27 July, a ZANU-PF spokesperson called on supporters to use all necessary means to defend themselves ahead of the nationwide July 31 demonstrations. When the protests went ahead, police arrested at least 20 people, who were charged with various offences including “public nuisance”, “intention to incite public violence”, and breaking COVID-19 regulations. They were later released on bail. On 4 August, the President said the protest supporters were “bad apples” who would be “flushed out”.

Right to truth, justice and reparation

  • Opposition and civil society members, activists and lawyers accused the authorities of using the judicial system to harass and penalize opponents or perceived critics of the government.
  • Statutory instruments were used to suspend constitutional rights. For example, COVID-19 restrictions led to courts closing early, ostensibly to allow staff to get home before the curfew. Consequently, hearings were repeatedly adjourned, and critics and activists were unable to get bail and were kept in prolonged pre-trial detention. Jacob Ngarivhume, a politician, who was arrested in connection with the July 31 protests, and Hopewell Chin’ono, a journalist who was arrested for exposing allegations of corruption among government officials, spent around six weeks in pre-trial detention, having been denied bail three times. Godfrey Kurauone, an MDC-A councillor in Masvingo, spent over five weeks in jail for “insulting” the President.
  • At least 10 lawyers were harassed in connection with cases they represented, some of them facing prosecution on trumped-up charges. In June, Thabani Mpofu was arrested and bailed, on allegations of obstructing justice by filing an affidavit from a fictitious person in a case which challenged the appointment of the Prosecutor General. The author of the affidavit later presented himself to the police, but the case against the Thabani Mpofu continued at the end of the year.
  • In July, the Chief Justice directed that all court judgements be “approved” by the head of the court or division before being handed down. The directive was withdrawn following strong objections from lawyers and civil society activists.
  • In August, a magistrate barred Beatrice Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer, from representing her client and recommended that her licence be revoked after she was falsely accused of running a Facebook page which criticized the justice system.

Right to health

  • Between March and June, a total of 106 maternal deaths were recorded, largely as a result of movement restrictions which prevented many pregnant women from accessing services. In July, a woman from Chitungwiza was forced to pay a bribe to get through a police roadblock to reach hospital when she was in labour.
  • The government did not release information on the number of health workers who had tested positive for COVID-19 until August, when they announced there were more than 480 cases. In September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported a decrease in access to essential health care facilities as a consequence of COVID-19 infection among health workers and a lack of PPE, among other things. Calls from front-line health workers for adequate PPE and essential drugs went unheeded, and in April the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights took a case to the High Court which ordered the government to, among other things, provide PPE to front-line health workers.

Violence against women and girls

Within the first 11 days of lockdown, 764 cases of violence against women and girls were recorded, rising to 2,768 by mid-June. The authorities failed to prioritize services to protect women and girls from such attacks. Meanwhile, victims were denied prompt access to justice.

End Amnesty International Summary

 

Sexual and Gender based Violence, Zimbabwe 2021

https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Zimbabwe-SGBV-WHRD-Publications-Reports-Thematic-reports-2021-ENG.pdf

In light of the discussions outlined in the ICJ’s 2015 Reflection Paper, in 2019 the ICJ commissioned a study of the experiences of Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in Zimbabwe based on the following research questions:  

  • Does  the  work  of  WHRDs  increase  their  risk  of  being  subjected  to  Sexual  and  Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)?  
  • What are the key legal challenges that WHRDs encounter when seeking redress for SGBV  perpetrated against them due to or as a result of their work?  

The findings of this study presented in this report confirm that WHRDs are at a heightened risk of SGBV in the course of and due to the nature of their work in defence of human rights. The risk is particularly heightened in the case of WHRDs who work on what may be considered as ‘politically sensitive  cases  or  issues’.  The  threat  of  SGBV  comes  not  only  from  male  members  of  the communities within which WHRDs work, but also from State security officials, including the police, as well as from their own family members and, in some cases, the male HRDs with whom WHRDs work;

To a large extent, the legal hurdles faced by WHRDs when seeking redress for SGBV suffered in the course of or due to the nature of their work stem from gaps within the Zimbabwean legal framework on sexual offences. As this report discusses, these gaps arise from the moment SGBV complaints are  reported  and  affect  their  investigation  detrimentally;  they  also  undermine procedural  and evidentiary rules and the approach of judicial officers to sexual violence cases. 

United Nations: 

 https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/07/1069011

  • In a statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an end to the "pattern of intimidation" seen in Zimbabwe, warning that authorities may be using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to "clamp down" on freedom of expression. 
  • "We are concerned at allegations in Zimbabwe, which suggest that the authorities may be using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association," a spokesperson for High Commissioner Liz Throssell said Friday [24th July 2020]. 
  • "It is important to remind the authorities that any lockdown measures and restrictions should be necessary, proportionate and time-limited, and enforced humanely without resorting to unnecessary or excessive force," Throssell's aide added. 
  • Addressing the arrest of Chin'ono and Ngarivhume, the UN High Commissioner called on the Zimbabwean government to uphold its human rights obligations. 
  • "Merely calling for a peaceful protest or participating in a peaceful protest are an exercise of recognized human rights," Throssell's spokesperson said;
  • A pattern of intimidation became clear surrounding events in May when three female members of the main opposition party, were arbitrarily arrested and detained for taking part in a protest;
  • Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, alleged that after State security officials abducted them from a police station, they were tortured and sexually assaulted.  
  • “The women were then formally arrested in June, charged with participating in the protests and faking their [own] abduction”, said Ms. Throssell, adding that they had been recently released on bail.

 

In the House of Lords, Lord [Peter] Hain calls for extended sanctions on those Zanu PF members who are flouting Human Rights Policy in Zimbabwe: statement from 29th July 2020

https://www.parallelparliament.co.uk/lord/lord-hain/vs/lord-bruce-of-bennachie#1

In Zimbabwe, three women have recently been abducted and tortured: opposition MP and former Canon Collins scholar Joana Mamombe, together with Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri. On 20 July, highly respected journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was arrested and denied bail for supporting an anti-corruption protest and faces 10 years in jail. Opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume was arrested, and youth leader Takunda Madzana abducted and tortured by state security agents on 26 July. As well as rampant corruption, there is a pattern of ongoing human rights violations under the cover of Covid-19 crackdowns. Can the Government update their sanctions to cover more Zimbabwean Ministers and security chiefs?

Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe speak out for first time on human rights abuses 23rd August 2020

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/aug/24/catholic-bishops-in-zimbabwe-speak-out-for-first-time-on-human-rights-abuses-mnangagwa

  • The Zimbabwean government has summoned the Vatican representative in Harare over growing criticism by Catholic bishops of the country’s human rights record.
  • The move follows a scathing letter send by local clergy accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime of abusing power in its crackdown on political activists, and of rampant corruption.
  • The letter reads: “The crackdown on dissent is unprecedented. Is this the Zimbabwe we want? To have a different opinion does not mean to be an enemy. It is precisely from the contrast of opinions that the light comes. Our government automatically labels anyone thinking differently as an enemy of the country: that is an abuse …
  • “Suppression of people’s anger can only serve to deepen the crisis and take the nation into deeper crisis.”
  • The bishops said corruption in the country had reached alarming levels.
  • The letter, sent on 14 August, continues: “Government and civic society are agreed that corruption is [choking] the economy, and compromising our justice system. While there is this acknowledgement there hasn’t been equally a serious demonstration by government to rid the country of this scourge.”
  • The clergy said an urgent solution to the Zimbabwean crisis was needed.
  • The bishops have also thrown their weight behind the #Zimbabweanlivesmatter movement, which was trending on social media early this month.