Amnesty Report Paints Ugly Rights Picture On Zim
At least 10 people were unlawfully killed by Zimbabwe’s police and state security agents in 2020 with no meaningful investigations carried out into the crimes, a global human rights movement, Amnesty International has said.
During the period, at least 25 journalists were assaulted and arbitrarily arrested and detained while working, or on their way to and from work as security forces enforced a hard lockdown despite the media having been granted essential service status.
The report titled -2020/21: The State of the World’s Human Rights, assessed human rights violations in 149 countries.
“Police and state security agents unlawfully killed at least 10 people. No meaningful investigations were carried out into these crimes. Amnesty International Report 2020/21,”
“On 15 March, police went to the home of Bhekani Moyo in Silobela village, in connection with assault allegations, and shot him dead. On 30 March, Levison Moyo was beaten by police in Bulawayo for allegedly violating lockdown restrictions and died four days later from a brain haemorrhage,”
“In May, police, travelling in an unmarked vehicle, shot and killed Paul Munakopa in Hillside, Bulawayo. At least two opposition activists were unlawfully killed. In July, Mazwi Ndlovu, from Bulilima, was killed by agents suspected to be affiliated with ZANU-PF after he raised concerns about the way food was distributed to those in need,”
“A man suspected of killing him was later arrested but released without appearing in court or applying for bail. Also in July, state security agents in Hurungwe abducted, murdered and dumped the naked body of Lavender Chiwaya, an MDC-A councillor, near his home,” reads the report.
It further stated that Police and military officers used the COVID-19 restrictions as a pretext to justify the harassment and intimidation of journalists and other media workers.
“Between March and August, security forces locked down roads to Harare’s central business district to prevent protests in support of prominent activists facing trial. In townships in Harare, officers robbed some people at gunpoint, demanded bribes or severely beat them for breaking lockdown regulations,” the report said.
Government has in the past denied charges by global human rights campaigners saying they were working with the opposition parties and were bent on derailing its re-engagement efforts with the international community.
Nevertheless, political commentators have expressed concern over the alleged human rights crimes by the President Emmerson Mnangagwa administration saying they complicate the country’s chances of being removed from the sanctions list.
Early this year, the United Kingdom slapped sanctions on four Zimbabwean security officials, Central Intelligence Organisation chief Isaac Moyo, Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga, Anselem Sanyatwe, a former commander of the presidential guard and Minister for State Security Owen Ncube, over alleged human rights abuses.
“This is not a good report for Zimbabwe and it has negative implications on the government as you know government among its priorities needs to be accepted back into the international community after so many years of isolation,” said Ernest Mudzengi a political commentator.
“With these reports of human right violations, some of them very serious it may be difficult for Zimbabwe to be accepted back into the international community. We know for certain that the reason why it got isolated from international community was because of human rights violations,” he added.
However, government is adamant to pursue its re-engagement efforts despite the negative human rights allegations against it.