Human Rights Monitors (HRMs) trained and deployed by Heal Zimbabwe have expressed concern over the increase of cases of human rights violations during the COVID 19 lockdown. This came out during a Provincial virtual discussion organised by the HRMs on 20 July 2021.
The objective of the dialogue meeting was to evaluate the state of human rights in the province as well as identify cases of human rights violations that were supposed to be referred to Independent Commissions supporting democracy such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC). Participants noted that in areas like Mashava, the Covid 19 regulations have not stopped political parties like ZANU PF from convening meetings where community members are forced to join or register their names for the 5 million votes campaign against their will. ”Just yesterday, War Veteran, Mr Dhlakama and his team embarked on a door to door exercise forcing people to register their names for the 5 million votes campaign or risk being denied food aid and have their land taken from them”, said one participant from Masvingo West ward 33.
In Bikita West, a ZANU PF member only identified as Mutimukuru is leading an onslaught against community members perceived to be opposition party members. ”On 16 July 2021, ZANU PF member, Mutimukuru assaulted Caspen Tongoona, an MDC Alliance member at Nyika Growth point for wearing an MDC Alliance t-shirt. Besides the case being reported to the police, no arrest has been made.Mutimukuru is untouchable and has in the past disrupted food aid activities” added another participant from Bikita. Similar cases of human rights violations were also reported by participants from Chivi, Zaka and Chiredzi. As part of resolutions, participants agreed that with the facilitation of Heal Zimbabwe, they were going to compile a report on cases of human rights violations from the Province that will be submitted to the ZHRC and other Commissions. Participants also resolved to continue to name and shame as a deterring measure against continued human rights abuse.
The virtual meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe