Zimbabwe: A trail of violence after the ballot

June 3, 2008

Zimbabwe: A trail of violence after the ballot

The ZESN reports that since 11 May its observers have been attacked in Mt. Darwin in Mashonaland Central province by ZANU-PF supporters. Their homes were vandalised and property looted. Six were hospitalised after sustaining serious injuries. Several families were forced to take shelter in surrounding hills and bushes.13


Since 29 March, several hundreds of ZESN local observers have reportedly been threatened, harassed or intimidated in their communities by "war veterans" and other ZANU-PF supporters.


ZESN workers held by ZANU-PF supporters and suspected "war veterans" in Mashonaland East province

On 12 May, two ZESN workers were held by ZANU-PF supporters at Kotwa business centre in Mudzi District. The two workers who were in a vehicle owned by the organisation were stopped by ZANU-PF supporters in an unregistered red Mitsubishi truck and questioned for six hours about their movements in the area. The ZESN vehicle was allegedly confiscated and the two workers managed to escape from detention at about 2.30am on 13 May.14


Discrimination against Women of Zimbabwe Arise members in sales of maize

In April, the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), an activists' organisation, reported that its members in low income suburbs of Bulawayo were being blocked by ZANU-PF supporters from buying maize meal, the staple diet, because they did not have ZANU-PF party loyalty cards.15


Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions leaders arrested over May Day speeches

Lovemore Matombo, President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and Wellington Chibebe, Secretary General of the ZCTU were arrested on 8 May on charges of "communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state," under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] following speeches made during May Day celebrations in Harare. They handed themselves in to the police after police looked for them at their homes. On 12 May they appeared before a magistrate and were denied bail and initially remanded in custody until 23 May at Harare Central Remand Prison. However, after appeal they were granted bail by a High Court Judge on 19 May 2008. Reports also indicate that while they were held at Harare Central police station from 8 to 12 May, they were denied blankets and threatened with assault by police.


V. Violations of national law, regional and international human rights standards

Amnesty International believes that the state-sponsored attacks against individuals, perceived to have voted for the MDC, by "war veterans" and ZANU (PF) supporters are a violation of both national law and international human rights law. They violate the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. This prohibition is found in section 15 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which states: "No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other such treatment."