HomeEditorial CommentIt’s business as usual for the hawks in Zanu PF

It’s business as usual for the hawks in Zanu PF

There has been evidence of deep-seated intransigence and desire to close the civic space by hardliners within Zanu PF and the inclusive government; shocking but not surprising was the conviction of Munyadzi Gwisai and five others on charges of conspiracy to commit public violence in violation of section 188 of the Criminal Codification Act.  The injunctions on the freedom of expression and assembly constitute a measured dose of injustice, intimidation, castration, containment, and threat to the civic groups and citizens.

 

Masvingo also reported the case of Moses Tarume who was, in March convicted for allegedly insulting President Mugabe and ordered to pay US$300 by the end of March or face three  months imprisonment. Interestingly, the man from Gutu was arrested in 2009 by war veterans, after he allegedly said that he would only be able to buy a Mercedes Benz after Mugabe is dead. There is reason to believe that Moses’ case is just one among many of defiant, tired, frustrated but agitated Zimbabweans who have gone public about their disapproval of Robert Mugabe’s leadership. In Zimbabwe, the courts do not seem to guarantee citizens the freedom of speech, especially when one publicly criticises or mentions the name Robert Mugabe.

Masvingo is the same province where Jabulani Sibanda allegedly camped or is camping and terrorising communities to “cleanse” them of being anti-Zanu PF. This is the same province where Governor Maluleke attempted to ban 30 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for operating in the province without getting clearance from his office. In the very same province, there were media reports of Chief Murinye who ordered that MP Chitando for Masvingo Central pay him two beasts, a goat and US$5 for allegedly undermining him by holding an MDC rally without his permission.

The Masvingo cases confirm the obvious; a section of the judiciary, police, the army, the governors, and the chiefs are all hostage institutions now serving partisan interests.
Another nerve-wracking event during the same period was the Chiefs’ conference that culminated in outrageous and extravagant demands; new cars, farms and even guns! As if that was not enough, they went on to endorse Robert Mugabe as the Zanu PF candidate in the next election. Zimbabweans now have in their hands a curse of cultural custodians presiding over people’s rights abuses.

These are just but a few human-rights abuse cases and the attempts to shun institutional reform per the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the mandate of the inclusive government. The continued shrinking of the civic space also points to the deep-seated culture of abuse of human rights and is instructive to the human rights defenders and regional and international institutions on the amount of work ahead of any credible elections and democratisation in Zimbabwe.  

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