Forum Condemns Political Violence

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) unreservedly condemns the increase in cases of interparty and intraparty political violence. Episodes of intraparty violence involving members of Zimbabwe African National Union-patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) were observed in Manicaland Province, while two cases of interparty violence against the MDC-Alllance (MDC-A) have been observed in Masvingo.

Reports in Manicaland Province of clashes between rival ZANU-PF factions were received on 10 October at the party’s Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting. The clashes took place after demonstrators, who were calling for the ouster of chairperson Mike Madiro, were teargassed by the police. The demonstrators were allegedly led by Mutare District Coordinating Committee (DCC) Secretary for Youth Affairs Danmore Mambondiyani, who demanded that Madiro address disgruntled party members gathered outside Marymount Teachers College. The disgruntled supporters accused Madiro of fanning factionalism. Another rival of Mambondiyani, Stanley Sakupwanya, the Makoni DCC secretary for youth affairs, was assaulted in the melee by supporters Of Mambondiyani. Sakupwanya was hospitalised at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital for injuries sustained during the brawl.

The Forum also noted the circulation of video footage in which a belligerent mob blocked a vehicle procession Of Nelson Chamisa’s convoy and advance delegation from gaining entry into Charumbira Village situated in Masvingo province. The MDC-A, in a series of statements published on their official Twitter account confirmed these events. The attack, which occurred on 11 October, came after the MDC-A had tweeted earlier in the day about the disruption of an MDC-A meeting at the private residence of Leader Chitemere, an MDC-A provincial member. Subsequent video footage also emerged Of a gathering Of villagers recounting events in the aftermath Of the attack mentioned above. In the leaked video, an older woman can be heard bearing witness that the MDC- A motorcade made up of six vehicles was blocked by boulders, burning logs, and two stationary vehicles. The gathering is then heard chanting ZANU-PF party slogans and bellowing to the announcement that the MDC-A convoy retreated after the entourage sustained injuries. A woman in the gathering can be heard gleefully exclaiming: “Kana vari veMDC vakuvara zvakarongeka” which loosely translates to: “If the MDC entourage sustained injuries, then it is very good”.

A separate incident has also been documented in which ZANIJ-PF youths allegedly unleashed an orgy of violence at Gutu Garage in Mupandawana in the afternoon of 14 October. On its Twitter page, MDC-A has claimed that cars were stoned, and six MDC-A members were arbitrarily kidnapped and beaten following a meeting held there by Chamisa. These recent events are indicative of a growing and disturbing trend in Zimbabwe’s political discourse that includes increased levels of political repression in the run up to the 2023 election.

Zimbabwe’s Constitution expressly guarantees political and civil rights in line with international best practices, norms and standards as encapsulated under international human rights instruments such as the universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights all of which stand ratified by Zimbabwe. These rights also find expression in sections 52 and 58 Of the Constitution, which entrench the rights to freedom and security of the person; to bodily and psychological integrity, which entails the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources as well as the right to freedom of association and assembly. political rights are also provided for under section 67 of the Constitution.

The government’s apathetic response to the 11 October attacks which it reportedly views as “stage- managed” is reason for concern. Former government minister, Patrick Chinamasa indicated at a ZANU-PF Press Conference that opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, did not have a right to impose himself on people. This position directly contravenes section 67(2) (b) Of Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution, which entrenches the right of every Zimbabwean citizen to campaign freely.

Thus far, no one has been arrested or sanctioned for this violence. On this basis, the Forum condemns political violence and calls for the government and citizens to adhere to and respect the civil and political rights and freedoms enshrined in Zimbabwe’s Constitution and under international human rights instruments, which Zimbabwe is a signatory. In addition, we implore law enforcement Officers to diligently investigate reported cases of political violence.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

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