It does not belong to a group of greedy, selfish and narcissist individuals who think everything, including the lives of all Zimbabweans, revolve around them.
This is why the preamble of the constitution, Zimbabwe’s supreme law, which no one is above, begins with the phrase, We the People of Zimbabwe.
It goes on to state that, “We the people of Zimbabwe, united in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, and our heroic resistance to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression…”
This sums up the fact that Zimbabwe belongs to everyone, and as the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), we write to reaffirm that in the face of a social, economic and political situations where some individuals holding state power have acted in a manner that is not consistent with the constitution, and have gone on to parade extreme disregard for the people whose welfare they are in charge of, this must stop.
This is happening as the country’s political temperatures are at their peak, less than three weeks before critical by-elections that are happening after a series of depressing political developments.
And perhaps, the true colours and character of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and the ruling party are coming out once more.
Like always, Mnangagwa’s party, Zanu PF takes a lead in human rights violations recorded this month at 41%, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, which is under his command as the commander in chief of the defence forces, comes second after contributing to 37% of human rights violations recorded in February 2022.
In all this, machete wielding gangs have resurfaced and this month, they contributed to nearly 5%of all human rights violations and the spotlight of their action, Kwekwe, is Mnangagwa’s home town.
- Chamisa under fire over US$120K donation
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Pension funds bet on Cabora Bassa oilfields
- Councils defy govt fire tender directive
For the first time in a long time, Midlands, where Kwekwe is located, recorded a surge in human rights violations, driven by the resurgence of the machete gangs, most of whom are artisanal miners loyal to Zanu PF and certain political figures.
These are the same machete gangs that pounced on the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) rally that was being addressed by the party leader Nelson Chamisa in Kwekwe, killing two and injuring over a dozen others, a day after Vice President Constantino Chiwenga incited violence by claiming that CCC was a little Goliath that needed to be crushed with a stone.
The incident has since become one of the darkest of the increasing violent incidents in Zimbabwe’s political landscape.
This month, ZPP recorded a significant increase in the profile and scope of the human rights violations recorded. ]
So, while in January, ZPP recorded a total of 55 cases of human rights violations, the majority of them were of discrimination during aid processes, and in February, the organization recorded a total of 70 cases, with the majority of them being of political violence that left people injured or dead.
In all of this, the majority of the victims, about 89%, are ordinary Zimbabweans, with 9% being CCC supporters.
It is unfortunate that Zimbabwean politics continues be haunted by cases of violence that can be avoided if Zimbabweans were more tolerant.
We are also concerned by the continued partisan actions of the police, whose mandate is to serve every Zimbabwean.
ZPP noted the irony that police managed to send a considerable amount of equipment and human resources to stop a CCC rally in Gokwe, but failed to send enough manpower to protect the legally sanctioned CCC event in Kwekwe, which was invaded by the machete gangs.
The Kwekwe incident happened as CCC activists had to fend off alleged Zanu PF supporters who petrol bombed a tent set up for a rally in St Mary’s in Chitungwiza.
Police have also contributed to human rights violations, CCC supporters were detained for holding a car rally whereas supporters of other political parties had car rallies and they were not arrested.
Police have also deployed roadblocks in a bid to disrupt opposition political activists wishing to attend rallies of their parties.
The levels of Zanu PF and government’s political intolerance of opposition political parties — especially the newly formed CCC reached alarming levels in February.
The party, in collusion with the police, sought to stifle campaigns by the CCC and used the same old tricks of arbitrary arrests, harassment, intimidation, among others.
The first major incident was the setting up of tight roadblocks along roads leading to Machipisa Shopping Centre in Highfields, where Chamisa was due to hold a rally on February 20 to launch the party’s campaign for the March 26 by-elections. -Zimbabwe Peace Project
Fifth Brigade was not trained by Russia
The claim that the Fifth Brigade soldiers deployed in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces by late former president Robert Mugabe’s government during Gukurahundi was trained by Russia is false and a clear distortion of history.
I am responding to the story in which the United African National Council (UANC) leader Gwinyai Muzorewa Muzorewa, young brother to the late Abel Muzorewa, who had a short stint as the country’s leader before independence in 1979, called for closure of the Gukurahundi chapter in order for healing, reconciliation and unity to take root in the country. (The story was published by NewsDay on March 7, 2021).
However, it was claimed in the story that Gukurahundi atrocities saw more than 20 000 civilians being killed in cold blood by the Russian-trained Fifth Brigade forces in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces between 1982 and 1987.
This is misinformation of the young people who are not aware of the Gukurahundi history.
If people do not know history they must shut up and stop distorting it. It is a lie that the 5th Brigade was trained by Russia, the fact is that it was trained by North Korea. Children must be told the correct history.
If one says Gukurahundi was trained by Russia, where did he get that from?
Why is he distorting facts? I am replying to this as an ex-combatant, who was affected by this issue and I have very correct information about it.
Why is the Gukurahundi treated exceptionally to other atrocities that happened in other countries where perpetrators have been brought to book and charged under the International Criminal Court (ICC)?
Some of the people who committed the atrocities in Zimbabwe are dead while some are still alive and it was proper for them to answer charges on the killings.
What is it that stops ICC from bringing the offenders to book?
Who should tell the ICC about this issue so that a warrant of arrest is issued to Interpol for the offenders to be taken to the ICC?
If one kills a person, that offender must be arrested and taken to court and this must happen in the case of Gukurahundi.
UANC, that governed the country during the transitional period in 1979 under the leadership of the late clergyman Bishop Abel Muzorewa, believes that healing can close the Gukurahundi chapter.
The UANC said it will do everything possible to work with the regional community to listen to what would be more consoling for them.
Muzorewa said it was sad that lives lost in the atrocities could never be restored, but there was a need to restore material things that were lost by the victims.
At independence I was the Zipra chief of logistics when I was integrated into the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and there are many questions, which people pose about the hero status in Zimbabwe which need answers.
I worked at KGVI army headquarters from the time I was integrated into service until his retirement in 1990.
I know everything about the Gukurahundi issue because I was one of the targets and those who do not know anything must not talk about it as if they know. –Thomas Ngwenya, ex-Zipra cadre and retired ZNA colonel
The Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill proposed by Parliament has devastating socio-economic and political implications on citizens and particularly the women constituency that WALPE represents.
Women’s rights organisations have made great strides towards the reduction of gender-based violence, eradication of child marriages, capacitation of women to take up leadership positions, awareness raising on sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) and improving the welfare of various women in marginalised communities, giving them a voice to challenge laws, policies and practices that have repressed them for long.
This Bill is a setback to the achievement of democracy, socio-economic development and the realisation of constitutionally guaranteed provisions such as section 17, 56 and 80 that calls for gender equality.
Clause 5 of the Bill which inserts a provision into the Act permitting the PVO Board to deregister organisations “engaging in political activities” is vague.
This leaves organisations such as WALPE that are working on improving women political participation across the political divide vulnerable, exposed and or forced to change their mandate for fear of being deregistered.
Our efforts towards the advancement of gender equality and improvement of women representation in leadership and decision making will be put to waste if the PVO Bill in its current form comes into effect.
The WALPE is deeply concerned with the repercussions the bill will have on the women constituency that we represent and call all interested stakeholders including the government to reconsider the Bill for the sake of democracy, empowerment, equality and inclusion.
Here’s why the women constituency should speak against the Bill:
- It exposes the vulnerability of women and marginalised groups and negatively impact on their participation in the political, economic and development processes at both local and national level.
- Limits the freedom of association which pushes women away from participating in politics and development.
- Impacts negatively on the mobilization efforts of women-led CBOs and CSOs that advocate for women rights.
- Instils a culture of fear that also limits women’s participation in leadership and decision-making processes. –WALPE