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Zimbabwe authorities must respect human rights

by Stephen Jakes
17 Aug 2020 at 07:05hrs | Views
The International Coalition Against the Coronavirus (ICAC) Africa, South African chapter leader Chanda Chose has said there is a need for Zimbabwean authorities to respect human rights, trade union rights among a host of other rights enshrined in the national and international charters. 

Chose's remarks coame in the ake of recent reports of abduction and torture of citizens in the countyrty following the call for the July 31 demonstration which was frastrated by the massive deployment of armed security forces across the country top thwart the demosntrations.

Chose in his opinion said polarisation ation is familiar with Zimbabwean society's descriptions.

He said the word is quite common in Zimbabwe with the words such as " new dispensation, neo colonialism, despondency, regime change, agents of the west, delipidating and others featuring too expose the polarisation.

"Polarization like the listed words is one of the words very common in Zimbabwe as it is said many times to the extent that even those who did not know what the word means are now aware of the meaning, which refers to the," division into two opposing groups or  opposing -extremes," Chose said.

"Zimbabwe at independence inherited a polarized society in which the black population were on one end while the white population were on the other side of the divide. Within the same society the black population was divided after a grueling vote canvassing period between Zanu PF and PF Zapu which were the major political players."

He said despite attending the Lancaster House Peace Settlement as a single identity, the Patriotic Front participated in the 1980 elections as two separate parties.

Chose said all this created polarization and disunity that followed thereafter. This led to the policy of reconciliation with the famous turning of swords into ploughshares by the then Prime minister Robert Mugabe. 

"However, the pulling out of Joshua Nkomo and PF Zapu from the government and the disturbances that followed in Matabeleland and Midlands further created a rift in communities that longed for unity. The disturbances led to the death of an  estimated twenty thousand people. These happenings were manure and fertilizer to polarization in Zimbabwe," he said.

"Apart from this, it needs to be stated that although Zimbabwe holds periodic elections, these have been marred by violence among the major political players. In the 1980s it was Zanu PF supporters against PF Zapu supporters and at times violence pitting Zanu PF supporters against Bishop Abel Muzorewa's UANC party supporters."

He said the election season was always a period where violence was the norm in which people were injured and killed and property was destroyed. Chose said in the 1990s battle lines were drawn between Zanu PF and Edgar Tekere's ZUM. Like in the previous elections violence was the norm. 

"In the year 2000, the political stage was entered by the Movement for Democratic Change, a party led by Morgan Tsvangirai. This period witnessed violence of monumental proportions. Many opposition supporters were beaten up, abducted and some were killed. 2008 was the mother of all violent cases in which the army was involved in an effort to reverse the loss attained by Zanu PF in the first round of the elections to Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDCT. All these incidents in which violence precedes the plebiscite has left the nation polarized in a great way," he said.

"In addition to this, suspected state sponsored abductions have continued unabated with notable people like Patrick Nabanyama, Itai Dzamara and Captain Nleya never found and missing to this day. Abductions of members of the opposition, trade unionists and journalists is part of the norm. However in most of the cases the government has professed ignorance and points to an obscure third force."

Chose said the people sympathizes with fathers and mothers missing their children and children orphaned and missing their parents and dividing further an already divided nation seeking national peace, unity and healing.

"The elections held in Zimbabwe since the attainment of independence have been marred by widespread allegations of electoral malpractices and rigging. Such allegations and court processes have equally left people heavily divided with very little room to unite," he said. 

"The government after the removal of Mugabe in Military coup widely referred to as the New Dispensation the Second Republic whatever means, has stifled and muzzled most freedoms that it is now difficult for workers to strike for better salaries and better working conditions, for journalists to freely express themselves lest they get arrested, abducted or beaten up and left for dead. Many opposition members, journalists, trade unionists have had to go into hiding to save themselves against state brutality."

SChose said the stated cases from independence to this day have done nothing and little in uniting the people but have caused polarization in Zimbabwe. 

He said these acts have divided the people in all fairness. 

"Each time human rights abuses have happened and the government has predictably denied any such happening. This has further polarized society between those who support the government and those against the actions. Imagine hearing a whole President and minister coming out on the national broadcaster telling the nation that no abductions are happening when you are missing your loved ones, no beatings to torture is happening when you are nursing injuries in hospital from state agents, nothing is happening when your hut has been burnt down, nothing is happening when you are being hunted day in day out by state agents and you are hiding and your crime being that you offended the president in a song or speech," Chose said.

"Facing this, the government in Zimbabwe needs to change in its ways of doing things. There is need to respect human rights. Respect trade unions, Respect workers rights, Respect peaceful demonstrations, Respect peaceful assembly,. Respect freedom of speech, Respect the right to association, Respect the existence of the opposition and not to take them as terrorists such labels lead to the opposition members being abused by the state."

He said the police and army discharge duties without favour and the country must run election campaigns devoid and free of violence.

"Hold free and fair elections. Investigate all suspected abductions and the people caught have to be held to account. Doing this  and many other positive actions will help fight against polarization in Zimbabwe. While polarization may not disappear completely but such efforts will help bring the necessary unity the nation has been craving for a long time. Only love and unity can build a nation while denial divides and polarizes the society," Chose said.

Source - Byo24news