‘Zim human rights situation still dire’

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa

BY LORRAINE MUROMO
GLOBAL human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration of gross human rights abuses, with human rights defenders, activists and journalists being the main target.

The AI report came shortly after Freedom House also painted a gloomy picture of the country’s human rights record.

In a report released recently, AI said ruling Zanu PF party supporters were the main perpetrators.

“The human rights situation continues to deteriorate with the government demonstrating hostility to human rights defenders, protesters, political activists and journalists,” the report read.

“They were harassed, arrested, prosecuted and subjected to prolonged pre-trial detention; one activist was killed allegedly by Zanu PF, the ruling party. Public hospitals remained underfunded and poor healthcare infrastructure put women and girls’ health at risk. Many people were at risk of becoming stateless,” the report read.

AI also said the government failed to support vulnerable communities during the COVID-19-induced lockdown periods.

“The cost of living increased and the government failed to meet its target to provide one million people with social protection and discontinued its COVID-19 social welfare packages during the third wave from June to August 2021.”

Analysts, who spoke to NewsDay, said the human rights abuses were likely to continue as the country headed for the 2023 harmonised elections.

But Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa rubbished the AI report saying it was premised on a regime change agenda.

“Their euro-centric reports and pronouncements are inevitably and invariably opinionated, biased and prejudiced. With the war-induced mayhem ravaging Ukraine, one would think they have enough on their hands in Europe. Where are they getting the time and effort to meddle with peace-loving Zimbabwe?” Mutsvangwa said.

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