In August, ZPP monitored and documented 257 human rights violations, with 3,321 victims identified [2,334 Males and 987 Females, including 31 (14M/17F) PWDs]. The majority of human rights cases were perpetrated by the Zanu PF party, responsible for 51% of the violations, followed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) at 28%. The general citizens populated the highest percentage of victims, 89%, and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters followed with 11%. Law enforcement agents and the ruling party have collectively subjected the citizens of Zimbabwe to gross human rights violations.
The report notes systematic campaigns by supporters of the Zanu PF party to threaten and intimidate opposition supporters, particularly in rural areas. In the recently concluded Housing and Population Census 2022, the rural population constitutes 61.4%, justifying the observed targeted intimidation campaigns ahead of the scheduled 2023 elections in Zimbabwe. Traditional leaders are challenged to be actors in mobilising support for Zanu PF against provisions of the Constitution Section 281 (2) (a and b) which sets out the conduct of traditional leaders, which among other, they are not supposed to be members of political parties and not supposed to act in a partisan manner when dealing with citizens under their jurisdiction. The threat of harassment, discrimination, and intimidation of opposition supporters demonstrates how traditional leaders are continually being coaxed to harvest fear. The ground is already being set for the 2023 elections.
The Zanu PF government evidently continues to manipulate the judiciary to repress and violate the rights of opposition party supporters. The case of two Zanu PF legislators Justice Mayor Wadyajena from Gokwe-Nembudziya and Dexter Nduna,
Chegutu West, who are documented as perpetrators of many human rights violations, were easily granted bail, while members and supporters of the CCC party Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole, and 14 others, are still incarcerated and being denied bail for more than two months. The selective application of the law by the Zanu PF government poses a serious threat to democracy. Section 164 of the Constitution, states that the independence, impartiality, and effectiveness of the courts are central to the rule of law and democratic governance, and specifies that neither the State nor any institution or agency of the government at any level, and no other person, may interfere with the functioning of the courts.
While citizens are free to contribute to whatever they identify with, it becomes an issue when they are coerced with threats of violence. Most citizens are struggling to make ends meet and it is against humanity to force them to sacrifice the little they have for the commemorations of national events. The general public was forced to donate monetary and in-kind contributions to the Heroes Day celebrations in August.
Threats to withhold government assistance were made to anyone who refused to participate or did so insufficiently ZPP documented numerous cases in August where the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) deliberately infringed on the liberties of citizens. The trend in the last few years and most of this year, August included, is that the ZRP continues to be accused of being responsible for the loss of life of citizens in their custody in most cases under unclear circumstances. The police seem not to be sensitive to issues relating to disability. ZPP recorded a case on the 20th of August whereby a man with a mental disability was taken to Harare Central Police Station where he unexpectedly died after being assaulted by the Military Presidential Guards Unit. This is against Section 219 of the Constitution, which expressly provides their mandate as that of impartiality, patriotism, and of a national character. The Constitution provides for law enforcement agents to act professionally and desist from using force that is disproportionate.
In addition, on 21 August the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) hiked by 1,900% election fees to be paid by presidential and parliamentary candidates seeking to contest in the 2023 harmonised elections.
Fees for presidential election candidates were hiked to US$20,000.00 up from the US$1,000.00 that was paid in the 2018 elections. The initiative by ZEC is a clear violation of civil and political rights in Zimbabwe.