2018 Post-Election Violence Monitoring Report

This report covers the period 1 – 9 August 2018

1. Introduction

Following a relatively peaceful 30 July 2018 plebiscite, violent protests broke out in Harare on 1 August 2018. The Zimbabwe National Army, (ZNA) was deployed into the streets, indiscriminately shooting and assaulting civilians. 6 people died from gunshots and many others were injured. Violence broke out in mostly high density suburbs and villages as the military and ZANU PF activists hunted down opposition activists. This reports captures the reports documented by members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum from 1 to 9 August 2018. A total of 199 violations have been documented in this period. This report was compiled by the following members of the Forum: Amnesty International Zimbabwe, Counseling Services Unit, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Peace Project.

2.0 Methodology

The information used is derived from:

  • Citizen reports received via the Ziso/Ilihlo platform;
  • Reports from the Forum’s member and partner organisations;
  • The Forum’s Public Interest Unit;
  • General reports from walk in clients; and
  • Verified media reports

In addition, the Forum Secretariat and members deployed a team of monitors and lawyers to observe and assist victims in Harare Central Business District (CBD), Dzivarasekwa, Highfields, Chitungwiza, Waterfalls, Kuwadzana and surrounding areas. Reports were collected by human rights monitors across the country and shared across the network. In order to ensure a coordinated response to cases of organised violence, members operating on the ground came together to share and verify information as well as to coordinate responses. This is the first report by the consortium which covers the period 1 to 9 August 2018. A total of 199 violations were documented from 1 to 9 August 2018.

3.0 Violations from 1 to 9 August 2018

Violation Number of Violations Alleged Perpetrators
Extrajudicial Killings 6 Military officers
Gunshot wounds 7 Military officers
Assaults 45 Military personnel, undisclosed
Abductions 16 Suspected security personnel
Intimidation 27 Traditional leaders and ZANU PF activists
Disrupted Meetings 3 Police
Arbitrary Arrests 33 Police and military personnel
Destruction of Property 7 ZANU PF Youths, Military Personnel, Harare Municipal Officers, MDC A
Torture 3 Suspected security personnel
Sexual torture 3 Undisclosed
Displacement 28 ZANU PF supporters
Attack on H.R. Defenders 3 Suspected security personnel
Home and Office Raids 8 Suspected security personnel
Partisan distribution of aid 5 Traditional leaders, ZANU PF Councillors
Total 199

NB:Figures reported here are estimates based on actual interventions and confirmations by members of the Forum. Investigations are ongoing and the Forum will give weekly updates regarding the situation

4.0 Summary of violations

a) Extra-Judicial Killings – Six (6) people were shot dead by army personnel following military deployment into the streets on the 1st of August. The Forum has been in touch with some of the families. Only one family of the deceased received monetary support to the amount of $1000 from the Civil Protection Unit. The Forum could not confirm if other families managed to receive anything. The families stated that they experienced problems in collecting bodies of their loved ones as hospitals tried to force them to accept documents that indicated knife stabbing.

b) Assaults – From 1 – 6 August 2018, the responders received calls from people in high density suburbs who reported that the military was moving around beating up residence. The assailants were identified by the witnesses as they disembarked from military vehicles, clad in military attire camouflage armed with AK Rifles and sjamboks. It was reported that there were two groups. The first group was beating people at random. The second group had a list of names of opposition supporters that they were hunting for. It was reported that they went door to door beating them up. In the rural areas, assaults were reported of members of the ruling party who attacked opposition persons who had been acting as polling agents. Monitors from the Forum were informed that some of the victims tried to seek medical help at Chitungwiza General Hospital but were turned away. The Forum interviewed one of the doctors who later assisted the victims at a private facility. The medical practitioner confirms that he saw the military vehicles in the area. The total number of assaults is estimated to be forty five (45) and Seven (7) non-fatal gun shots by the time this report was compiled. The victims, some of which had bullets lodged in their bodies including a deaf and dumb 44 year old male victim and some with soft tissue injuries received medical treatment.

c) Abductions – Further reports of abductions and arrests of opposition supporters were reported. The total number of abductions reported is Sixteen (16). Four (4) of these people were abducted in Highfields only to be found heavily tortured by unknowns assailants whom the victims believe to be members of the military whilst one (1) person was abducted in Mutoko and managed to escape the assailants. Another MDC Alliance polling agent was abducted on 7 August 2018 in Marondera. He was found in Goromonzi on 8 August 2018. He was tortured and stripped by four (4) assailants.

d) Destruction of property – Seven (7) cases of destruction of property were recorded. Vending stalls in the CBD and other suburbs such as in Highfield were destroyed. It is not clear who destroyed the stalls although vendors interviewed claim the army is responsible. In an incident verified by the teams on the ground in Lusaka, Highfield, a tuckshop was destroyed by soldiers and an amount between $200 to $300 was taken from the victim. In Mutoko East, in Chihwayi Village, Ward 17, an MDC Alliance polling agent had his two (2) houses burnt in the evening of 6 August 2018. All clothing and food was destroyed. The same person was also a victim of arson in 2008.

e) Harassment and intimidation – Various cases of harassment and intimidation by the military have been reported mainly from the opposition’s supporters and polling agents. The highest cases have been reported in Chitungwiza, Kuwadzana, Highfield, Dzivarasekwa and Mbare. However, reports have also been received from other provinces such as Midlands, and Manicaland. In Hurungwe West, on 7 August 2018, an MDC A polling agent was harassed by ZANU PF supporters for being a polling agent. In Mutoko East Ward 15, Headman Nyamashuka is reported to be compiling names of polling agents. In Guruve, Chifamba Village, Ward 12, a ZANU PF Chairperson threatened a villager who had been a polling agent for an independent candidate. Number of violations is estimated at Twenty Seven (27).

f) Raids of Offices and Homes, Suspicious Visits – MDC Alliance offices and members’ homes have been raided across the country. Other raids were reported from people who acted as polling agents for the opposition. A number of civil society members have also been visited at their homes, and arbitrary searches have been done. Whilst in most cases those responsible were in civilian clothes (identifying themselves as police), in some instances, armed uniformed members of the police and army have also been involved. Two (2) civil society organisations and their leaders have reported raids at their homes and offices by suspected security personnel.

5.0 Conclusion

The Forum urges the Government of Zimbabwe to stop all forms of retributive violence perpetrated on real and perceived supporters of the opposition political parties. It must further act to restore its integrity and commitment to peace.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum