As the sun set nonchalantly over 2018, the smouldering ruins of post-election violence might have physically been extinguished but the memories of the carnage were, at the very least, glowing embers of indignation in the minds of many a Zimbabwean.
We contend that this is the backdrop against which the current malaise should be contextualised.
Further, and based on the illustrated findings contained in this monthly monitoring report, it is our considered position that whereas many analyses from within and without the fraternity of civic society will instinctively point to the fuel price hike as the spark that set off the chain of violent events early this year, the powder keg of pent-up anger and frustration could have been set alight by anything.
By the same token, the incumbent political establishment would have responded in the same currency it used a fortnight ago. The indiscriminate character of state-sanctioned violence confirms the uncertainty that haunts the reigning administration. Ergo, the stage has always been set for a meltdown—it was no longer a question of when, not if. Something had to, and perhaps must still give in the future. The floodgates of pent-up emotions could only hold back the groundswell of anarchic rampage for so long.
In the illustrative tools below, we have, for ease of interpretation and utility for the reader, assigned nine categories of incidents that occurred or did not occur for each of the constitutive provinces of our Republic.
The data collected reported six hundred and eighty eight human rights violations, which have been incorporated into the Shutdown Atrocities Report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (of which ZPP is member).
55.6% of the perpetrators of violence were uninformed forces; the remaining 44.4% represents the looters and protestors who had gone on rampage. Other perpetrators documented include Zanu PF members 5.4%, municipal police 3.4%, CIO 2.2%, War veterans at 0.4% and MDC Alliance members 0.3%. The victims recorded present a different picture. 97.2% of the victims were of unknown affiliation, 1.8% were MDC Alliance members and 0.8% Zanu PF.
The highest violations were recorded for harassment and intimidation with three hundred and eighteen (318), followed by one hundred and forty five (145) assaults, eighty eight (88) for malicious damage to property, and fifty six (56) theft/looting. We recorded twelve (12) cases of extrajudicial killings during the month. Most of the killings were a result of gunshot wounds and took place on Monday 14 January while others were a result of beatings or other forms of torture such as being thrown out of vehicles in motion.
Such was the case of a young man who succumbed to death following injuries inflicted on by soldiers who after beating him forced him to jump out of a moving vehicle. The twenty-two (22) year old man died a few days after this gruesome torture. The killings were recorded mainly in Harare (9 deaths), with one each in Bulawayo, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West. Of great concern is also the 15 abduction violations recorded, and the unlawful detention of citizens. Harare province recorded the highest violations with 290, followed by Bulawayo with 124, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East with 57 each.
Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project
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