Articles

ROHR- Zanu Pf's treatment of victims of political violence



...A test of their sincerity towards the transition phase

With the unheralded outbreaks of violence and intimidation campaigns linked to the envisaged constitutional   making process in some parts of the country particularly in Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, a delegation of ROHR Zimbabwe and VAC team paid a solidarity visit to Shamva to access the human rights situation after some families where displaced last month following threats of violence by ZANU Pf supporters.
 
The gruesome predictable findings are that the victims of the reign of terror in 2008 bloody elections are not only denied justice but have become even more vulnerable and susceptible to further victimisation. Members of Honzeri family in ward 13 of Zhanda village in Shamva represent the anecdote of solitude and fear deeply stricken in the divided community between the victims and the perpetrators of political violence.
 
Their case is a smoke screen of many innocent man, women and children who are being persecuted for being supporters of the Prime minister's party MDC, against the principled position agreed by the three political parties in the Global Political Agreement that 'there should be free political activity throughout Zimbabwe within the ambit of the law in which all political parties are able to propagate their views and canvass for support, free of harassment and intimidation.
 
The voices of victimised families have been rendered utter desolate as any attempt to work towards the upkeep of their livelihoods is either met with contempt or repressive action amounting to destruction of property and livestock. "Should i uproot my houses? Where should i take them where i can leave in peace because i am being chased away from our God given country of our fore fathers? € cried Mrs Honzeri.
 
"We cannot rebuild our houses because we are in a war situation. War brings suffering and destruction to some people and yet to others they will be enjoying the status quo. For us it is endless. €
 
The latest of the series of systematic harassment and intimidation is the barring of the Honzeri family from praying in the nearby bushes or risk being confronted with hell breaking loose from the threats of violence which Ishmael Jena boost of, a self confessed notorious liberation war veteran who also leads a 'Masowe sect'.Mai Honzeri said praying is their only solace in which they get a platform of asking God to heal their broken hearts and fight the enemy on their behalf. She also informed ROHR Zimbabwe that she was told vaguely to seek permission to pray in the mountains from Harare by her oppressors.
 
At the backdrop of the continued relentless persecution of victims of political violence, nothing has come out of the organ of National Healing to address their plight. The culture of impunity rages on, following the admittance by MDC minister Sekai Holland that the GPA did not state clearly the mandate of the organ.
 
Paradoxically the victims have been at the wrong side of proceedings stirring only more hostility from the police who have been slammed of being partisan and protecting perpetrators from being tried. ROHR Zimbabwe has received reports of controversial cases in which victims of political violence have been severely punished for complaining to the people who vandalised and stole property during the reign of terror in 2008.
 
It is clear that defiant intransigent supporters of ZANU Pf are not ready to welcome the transition agenda and will do anything to throw spanners. No acknowledgement has been made to those who suffered immensely from the past man-made injustices. The coalition government has not only failed to protect the voice of the victims in freely expressing their plight through truth telling but it has mobilised the police to suppress and stifle public freedom of expression as witnessed on the arrest of Zimrights staff and confiscation of photos of victims of political violence during public photo exhibitions held across the country by Zimrights.
 
The antagonistic pressure that has been put on the people by ZANU Pf supporters to coerce the nation into adopting the Kariba draft constitution and silence the free engagement leaves a lot to be desired provoking speculation among critics on the way forward. Central to the debate on how the nation can progress forward has been premised on the holding of a free and fair election under a democratic new constitution in the presence of international observers.
 
Wadzanai Mupandawana a human rights activist in the Diaspora strongly blames the coalition government for condoning corruption by government officials, the looting of diamonds at Chiadzwa and selective application of the law. She said the country is not   free if journalists, human and political activist are still being harassed for carrying out their duties. She further castigated the unprofessionalism and non reformist stance of the police on law enforcement in matters involving politicians loyal to Mugabe.
 
In the event of elections being held, ROHR Zimbabwe's founder Ephraim Tapa has expressed fears that with or without a new constitution the likelihood of violence is very high since the infrastructure of violence is still intact across the country.      


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