Access to Documentation Exercise Hijacked by War Veterans in Gutu

Community members from Gutu have bemoaned the continued politicization of the ongoing access to documentation blitz by war veterans. This was revealed during a community dialogue organised by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Gutu on 18 June 2022.

Participants at the dialogue highlighted that a ZANU PF member only identified as Mudzamiri, who is also a war veteran and retired soldier has hijacked the ongoing Identify Document (ID) blitz being rolled out by the Civil Registry Department in Gutu.

“Here in Gutu the blitz is heavily politicised. Mudzamiri has threatened the mobile Civil Registry team not to issue documents to community members until they agree to be accompanied to Matizha Business centre where they will collect the documents. Upon arrival at the centre, Mudzamiri then forces citizens to affirm their support for ZANU PF and forces them to register at the local Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) office. Mudzamiri is working with other war veterans in the area,” said one participant.

Participants noted this was a gross violation of citizens’ rights and noted that if not addressed, can jeopardize prospects for peaceful elections in 2023. It also came out during the dialogue that Mudzamiri was targeting first time voters who are young people from nearby high schools. Participants also highlighted that Mudzamiri has also given directives to some Village heads in the area to inform a local burial society to stop wearing branded yellow t-shirts.

As part of way forward, the dialogue meeting tasked a local Community Peace Club (CPC) that works with Heal Zimbabwe to embark on a human rights awareness programme and conscientize the community on key fundamental human Rights and freedoms such as political rights that are enshrined in Section 67 of the constitution. This section grants citizens the right to freely form, join or participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of their choice.

The 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. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe

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