Living on a Prayer: July 2019 Monthly Monitoring Report

The month of July has sadly not brought much to celebrate for Zimbabweans as the country is cascading into the precipice of conflict amid a continued deterioration in living conditions. The economy is officially experiencing hyperinflation as the Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL) has shed 41.57% during this month alone, rolling power cuts of over 17 hours, evermore increasing intimidation by mainly ruling party officials against a frustrated citizenry, as well as blatant deprivation of food and other aid to people deemed to be opposition supporters.

The situation obtaining in the country shows deteriorating living conditions as mentioned above.

Most concerning is the harassment and intimidation of the public when they express their frustrations about poor living conditions by mainly ruling party representatives. One such incident happened in Beitbridge, Dulibadzimu Township when Finot Ndou threatened to kill Marshall Mbedzi for criticising President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.

ZPP noted an increased involvement by war veterans in violations such as intimidation, assault and coercion of people to contribute funds towards Heroes Day Celebrations coming up in August. Sentiments expressed by Deputy Minister of Defense and War veterans Associations Victor Matemadanda at a meeting in Gweru on 27 July that government will unleash the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) to crush any ‘violent’ protest have further highlighted the increasingly prominent role that war veterans are playing in sowing fear and despondency.

Such incidents are indicative of continued increases in human rights violations, most prominently cases of intimidation and harassment. These violations are on a steady increase from 57, 9% in April, 57, 3% and 59, 3% in May and June respectively and this month we noted an increase to 62.6% recorded cases. This indicates a continuing toxic environment and notably these violations are around food and other aid distribution. Mashonaland Central was the hotbed of violations contributing 20.9% cases, followed by Mashonaland East at 19.4% while Manicaland and Mashonaland West were an equal split of 14.7% each.

Previously, Matabeleland North, South and Bulawayo provinces have recorded low cases of human rights violations with an average of 2, 9% in the months of April and June. However, in July the figure has increased to an average of 7.1%, indicating how widespread human rights violations are becoming.

Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project

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