The month of October witnessed an increase in cases of arbitrary arrests and detention. This followed the arrest and detention of 42 members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) following their attempt to organize a demonstration against the government’s increase of the Intermediated Money Transfer Tax from 5 cents (5%) per transaction to 2 cents (2%) per dollar transacted, on an already overburdened and impoverished citizenry. In general, the economic situation remained fragile throughout the month with no signs of recovery. The economic crisis manifested in the form of severe shortages of basic commodities and essential drugs, sky rocketing prices and liquidity crunch – a reminiscence of the 2008 economic meltdown when Zimbabwe became the first country to hyper inflate in the 21st century.
The Commission of Inquiry public hearings commenced in Harare on 16 October, 2018. The Commission was established in terms of the Commission of Inquiry Act [Chapter 10:07] to investigate the 1st of August 2018 post- election violence in Harare. The public hearings in Harare were peaceful. However, in Bulawayo the hearings had to be temporarily adjourned following violent clashes involving the Mthwakazi Republic activists and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). The disturbances resulted in the arrest and detention of four of Mthwakazi activists who were later released.
Running battles involving the police and vendors in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) continued through out the month of October. Of concern is the continued use of excessive force by the police in dealing with the vendors.
The realization of the right to access to basic health care services as stipulated in section 76 of the Constitution was under threat due to the escalating economic crisis that is making it very difficult for the government to adequately fund the health sector. Essential drugs were not readily available in public hospitals and clinics forcing citizens to resort to private hospitals where they were charged in foreign currency. In relation to this is the cholera crisis, which was first, detected in August 2018. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the cholera outbreak, has as of 10 October 2018 claimed approximately 54 lives and a total of 8 980 cases were reported in seven provinces across Zimbabwe. Glen View and Budiriro suburbs in Harare were the most affected accounting for 46% and 29% of the cases respectively.
Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)