By Lloyd Takawira
Human rights violation cases in the country are appalling despite President Mnangagwa’s reform attempts, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has revealed.
In a report released last week by the rights body Zimbabwe has remained intolerant of human rights in particular peaceful gatherings and freedom of expression.
While Mnangagwa’s ‘new dispensation’ has expressed willingness to uplift citizen’s rights, very little has been done in that direction.
State security agents used to quell demonstrations have fatally shot civilians, activists and union leaders abducted tainting the country’s image.
According to the report, human rights abuses including rape, killings and unlawful arrrests sabotage Mnangagwa’s efforts to reform.
“Despite President Mnangagwa repeatedly voicing his commitments to human rights reforms, Zimbabwe remained highly intolerant of basic rights, peaceful dissent and free expression in 2019.
“During nationwide protests in mid-January, following the President’s sudden announcement of a fuel price increase, security forces responded with lethal force, killing at least 17 people, raping at least 17 women, shooting and injuring 81 people and arresting over 1 000 suspected protesters during door-to-door raids,” read the report.
According to the body from the year 2019 to date, several civil society activists, political opposition leaders and other critics of the government were arbitrarily arrested, abducted, beaten or tortured, yet no efforts were made to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Notable victims of alleged abductions and torture case last year include that of comedienne Samantha ‘Gonyeti’ Kureya, junior doctors union former president Peter Magombeyi, activist Tatenda Mombeyarara and Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe leader Obert Masaraure.
“On September 14, as reported by the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, three unidentified men abducted Magombeyi, a government employee and leader of the doctors’ union that had organised a series of protests to demand better salaries for government doctors,” reads the report.
Prior to his abduction, according to his family and colleagues who spoke to HRW, Magombeyi received a text message from a local mobile number threatening him with disappearance.
Political and social commentators who spoke to this publication all conquered that the report is a minus to the Mnangagwa’s administration considering its ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ mantra.
Political commentator Mr Frank Chauke said, ” the report by HRW on Zimbabwe is a huge blow to the realization of meaningful FDI . It confirms that the issue of reforms needs urgent attention”.