Zanu PF, security agents target the elderly
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 12:54
The recent incident is the horrific murder of Sekuru Cephas Magura, 67, who was attacked in full view of the police at Chimukoko Business Centre in Mudzi North, Mashonaland East province and left for dead. Only last year, Sekuru Rwisai Nyakauru, 82, of Nyakomba Village in Nyanga, Manicaland province died in April from injuries he sustained after he was abducted and assaulted by Zanu PF supporters and State security agents.
Sekuru Nyakauru and 34 MDC members including Hon. Douglas Mwonzora, the party’s national spokesperson were later arrested and spent 27 days at the Mutare Remand Prison. Among those who were in remand prison was a 75 year – old grandmother, Evangelist Machirita.
In November 2011, Albert Vhiriri, a senior member and founder of the MDC in Glen View, Harare died in a suspicious case of politically motivated violence. Vhiriri, a pensioner, died on arrival at the Harare Central Hospital after he was discovered by neighbours in his room unconscious, naked and lying on the bloodied floor with serious injuries all over his body.
Vhiriri’s death came barely a week after the three main political principals, President Morgan Tsvangirai, Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara had met in Harare and denounced any form of violence. From these disturbances it is clear that some members in Zanu PF, especially the notorious gang, Chipangano have not taken heed of this call and continue to unleash violence. It is also sad to note that the State security agents are backing these violent incidences as no-one is being arrested although the offenders are known.
In his meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, President Tsvangirai who is also Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister said political violence is continuing despite denials by Zanu PF perpetrators who have targeted MDC supporters. President Tsvangirai met Pillay a day after Zanu PF insisted to the envoy there was no state-sponsored violence in the country.
President Tsvangirai said there was no need for the inclusive government to hide ongoing human rights abuses. He said he was striving for the next proposed elections to be “free and fair and away from violence.”
Pillay called on Zimbabwe to take steps to prevent a repeat of 2008 political violence in elections that are due next year. In 2008 over 500 MDC members were murdered by Zanu PF hooligans supported by State security agents. “I was able to raise many areas of concern from a human rights point of view, such as non-recurrence of violence that occurred in last elections and what steps are being taken to protect ordinary people from such violence,” Pillay said.
“The Prime Minister was very firm, forthright and convinced me of his commitment towards protecting human rights. His goal also is to have successful elections.” Pillay is the first U.N. rights chief to visit Zimbabwe. The human rights chief held a closed door meeting with over 45 CSO representatives and was told the government’s position on human rights abuses was false.
Dewa Mavhinga, a human rights lawyer and leading pro-democracy activist said the briefing that Pillay got from Zanu PF’s Patrick Chinamasa was just an attempt by government to distort the true picture of human rights in the country. ‘We were very clear as civil society leaders that the position by government was obviously false. We do have serious human rights challenges continuing in Zimbabwe,’ Mavhinga said.
In the past decade, there have been several dossiers compiled detailing incidents of extra-judicial killings and torture of innocent people by law enforcers. This is despite Zimbabwe’s commitment to a United Nations resolution to stop such human rights violations.
‘We detailed presentations from various civil society groups focusing on what is happening, including political violence, violence against women, the non-implementation of a number of international human rights treaties that Zimbabwe has ratified.
‘We still face challenges in the deregulation of NGO’s, food distribution on a partisan line and extreme polarisation of the Zimbabwe environment, particularly the militarisation of state institutions as we draw closer to an election,’ explained Mavhinga.