Pambazuka News



2001-06-18, Issue 26

The MDC is contesting the outcome of last June’s parliamentary elections in many constituencies that resulted in the victory of the ZANU (PF) candidate. The MDC has filed 41 cases from constituencies across Zimbabwe. ZANU (PF) is likewise contesting the election result in only one constituency where the MDC won a parliamentary seat. Trials began 12 February 2001.
Human rights abuses have been reported in all cases that have appeared before the High Court.

A report by the Legal Unit of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (also known as the “Human Rights Forum”) has been in existence since January 1998. Nine non-governmental organizations working in the field of human rights joined together to provide legal and psychosocial assistance to the victims of the Food Riots of January 1998.
The Human Rights Forum has now expanded its objectives to assist victims of organized violence, using the following definition:
“Organised violence” means the inter-human infliction of significant avoidable pain and suffering by an organised group according to a declared or implied strategy and/or system of ideas and attitudes. It comprises any violent action, which is unacceptable by general human standards, and relates to the victims’ mental and physical well being.
The Human Rights Forum operates a Legal Unit and a Research and Documentation Unit.
Core member organizations of the Human Rights Forum are:
The Amani Trust
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
The Legal Resources Foundation
Transparency International (Zimbabwe)
The University of Zimbabwe Legal Aid and Advice Scheme
Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of the Offender
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association
Associate members are:
The Human Rights Forum can be contacted through any member organization or through the following:
The Administrator, c/o P O Box 5465, Harare – email: [email protected]
The Legal Unit, c/o P O Box 5465, Harare – email: [email protected]
The Research Unit c/o P O Box 5465, Harare – email: [email protected]
Telephone/fax: 792222, 737509, and 731660
All previous reports of the Human Rights Forum can be found on the website.

The MDC is contesting the outcome of last June’s parliamentary elections in many constituencies that resulted in the victory of the ZANU (PF) candidate. The MDC has filed 41 cases from constituencies across Zimbabwe. ZANU (PF) is likewise contesting the election result in only one constituency where the MDC won a parliamentary seat. Trials began 12 February 2001.
Human rights abuses have been reported in all cases that have appeared before the High Court. Some of the victims seen by the HRLU (Human Rights Legal Unit) during March 2001 were victims of political violence that occurred when they returned home after testifying in the election challenges. The violence, which has mainly implicated ZANU (PF) supporters, but has also implicated some MDC supporters, is being used as a tool to intimidate people who had testified at the High Court. The intimidation continues to instil such fear that witnesses consider not testifying and in some cases have to be subpoenaed.
Many victims were forced from their homes because of an extreme fear of victimization and repeated intimidation. Victims are often forced to look for alternative housing and many are forced to live with family or friends elsewhere in the country. Most victims report beatings as the main form of torture.
Some victims seen by the HRLU were victims of other political violence, torture and ongoing intimidation in several constituencies.
Political violence has been reported in the following constituencies: Karoi, Hurungwe West, Chikomba, Chiredzi, Makoni West, Bikita West, Mabvuku, Shamva, Harare, Bulawayo, Bubi-Umguza, Mberengwe East, Mazowe West, Muzarabani, Masvingo North, and Mount Darwin.
The Clemency Order handed down by the President in October 2000, which declared that only those involved in political violence that resulted in murder or rape could be prosecuted, clearly has had serious effects. Police have taken little action to protect persons against political violence and in many cases, according to victims, refuse to take statements from MDC supporters. Some victims refrain from making reports to the police out of fear of further victimization often because of a perceived link between the assailants and members of law enforcement agencies. The police, as evidenced by statements of victims, have shown little intention of taking the reported matters seriously or investigating them with diligence.
It is urgent that the Zimbabwean government takes steps to ensure a climate of peaceful political competition. It is also imperative that the government ensures that the rule of law is restored, and criminal charges are brought against all alleged perpetrators, whatever their political affiliation.

Non-election petition related political violence
The information below relates to political violence that is not directly related to the election challenges.

· Unnamed villagers received death threats from war veterans in early May in the town of Beitbridge. The villagers were told that they would be killed if they attended a rally where MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was due to speak.


· On 26 May, Zanu (PF) supporters who arrived in trucks attacked the homes of six unnamed MDC supporters in Bindura. Thousands of dollars worth of property was destroyed. Zanu (PF) has unleashed a wave of violence against suspected and actual supporters of the MDC in Bindura in an effort to prevent the party’s penetration into Mashonaland Central, traditionally a ZANU (PF) stronghold.

· Kelvin Mutede, a form 3 student and MDC member, was assaulted on 26 May by
ZANU (PF) supporters during an attack on a home belonging to a suspected MDC supporter. He lost a lot of blood, sustained a fractured right arm and suffered blisters all over his body.

· ZANU (PF) supporters destroyed the shop and car of MDC member Joseph Mashinya on 30 May at Chidembo Shopping Centre in Bindura.

· Felix Kunaka, an MDC district chairman, was assaulted by a group of ZANU (PF) supporters and war veterans that included Elliot Manyika, Provincial Governor of Mashonaland Central. Manyika assaulted Kunaka and then held him at gunpoint whilst the war veterans assaulted him. The matter was reported at Nyawa Police Station.

· Ian Millar and his family were held hostage by war veterans at Dawmill Farm in Bindura on 28 May. The Millar family is being held hostage until war veterans Robert Kandato and Steven Makazo are released from prison. The men are serving four years imprisonment for the attempted murder of Millar’s farm manager, Keith McGaw. The group has vowed not to release the Millars until Elliot Manyika, Provincial Governor of Mashonaland Central, addresses them.


· On 16 May, war veterans and ZANU (PF) supporters abducted over 100 employees of Fawcett Security. The employees were forced to march through the city streets and ordered to chant ZANU (PF) slogans to ZANU (PF) offices on Basch Street, approximately 4km away. They were detained for about two hours at this location.


· Joel Sithole, the MDC candidate in the Plumtree Ward 10 council elections, was abducted near Brunapeg on 25 May by masked men whilst he was waiting for transport. He was thrown into a truck driven by a businessman who was identified by eyewitnesses. He was assaulted but managed to escape the following morning. War veterans, Tshitshi, Gwanyana, Tshingababili and one unnamed assailant were identified as the perpetrators. The police acknowledged the report and have said that investigations are underway.


· ZANU (PF) supporters assaulted Zerubabel Mudzingwa, a Daily News reporter, in Midlands on 12 May after he was refused entry to a meeting at Mkoba Stadium. The assailants accused him of working for a paper that criticized the government and ZANU (PF).


· War veterans abducted the director of the Canadian aid agency CARE International, Dennis O’Brien, on 6 May. Canadian Ambassador James Wall was also assaulted whilst trying to resolve the dispute. The war veterans invaded the agency under the pretext of settling a labor dispute between the agency and a former worker. O’Brien was taken to ZANU (PF) provincial headquarters where he was held for two hours and had Z$400,000 extorted from him. The accused have been named as Everton Gwanzura, Eric Pfumvuti, Billy Hlongwane, John Tembo, Givemore Chiwara, Joel Samuel Muzhamba, Macdonald Tome and Charles Tawazadza. Ambassador Wall lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the police.

· On 10 May, Mr. Timothy Mukwenge went to the ZANU (PF) provincial offices seeking assistance from the labor committee set up by the party. Mukwenge is a well-known MDC supporter. When Mukwenge arrived at the provincial office, he was taken to a small room where twenty ZANU (PF) supporters indiscriminately assaulted him. He sustained bruises all over his body and was dispossessed of his personal belongings, including Z$1,000.

· About 50 Zanu (PF) supporters and war veterans armed with iron clubs and bars attacked youths manning a car park belonging to Resias Musunda (an MDC activist). In the 6 May incident, Maxwell Matobo was bitten all over his back and Christopher Masaruare was seriously injured and was admitted to the hospital. The days income of Z$6,000, a receipt book and a cell phone were taken.

· On 21 May, Edson Mukwasi was assaulted in Kambuzuma by ZANU (PF) supporters. He sustained a swollen eye and several bodily injuries as a result.

· Godknows Musukutwa, a security guard at MP Madzimure’s home, was attacked on 23 May in Kambuzuma by unnamed assailants. He sustained serious injuries.

· George Slade was kidnapped from Eastlea and taken to ZANU (PF) provincial headquarters on Fourth Street by war veterans John Mada, David Mashakada and Cuthbert Magure who demanded Z$275,000 each from Slade. The three were arrested after a worker at the company informed the police about Slade’s abduction. They were charged with kidnapping and attempted extortion.

· Mr. Grace, the financial director of Load Engineering, was threatened on 15 May by former employee, Charles Kampwala, and two war veterans, Masimba and an unnamed perpetrator. They threatened to take him to ZANU (PF) headquarters and severely assault him or kill him if he refused to pay Kampwala Z$106,000. Kampwala was charged with extortion and was granted Z$1,000 bail.

· A group of MDC supporters face public violence charges on allegations that they assaulted former MDC members who defected to ZANU (PF). The victims were identified as Simon Matamisa, Kennias Makune, Wilson Mushamba, Ruzive Makumbe, Godfrey Mubvanyika, Constantine Mujera and Christopher Nhemachena. The assailants are alleged to be Edson Chifamba, Muchemwa Muzira, Moses Machakara, Trust Murehwa, Patrick Chakabveyo and Nelson Mataruse. The perpetrators are accused of assaulting the victims with whips and iron bars, and were arrested and released on Z$1000 bail pending trial. Two other assailants, Felix Njanji and Emmanuel Mususa were detained on charges that they trailed a ZANU (PF) supporter and attacked him with booted feet, planks and iron bars. The victim lost a tooth.

· On15 May, war veterans abducted Roy Atkinson, the general-manager of Heritage Clothing and took him to ZANU (PF) Harare provincial offices where he was beaten up. The previous week ZANU (PF) supporters had stormed the company and demanded that 200 dismissed workers be paid Z$200,000 each.

· War veterans, led by Eric Pfumvuti threatened Charles Chereka of Zimbabwe Plumbing Services and forced him to pay his employees Z$23,000. Pfumvuti has been charged with extortion and theft and has since been remanded into custody.

· Lovejoy Muzarengwana, Onward Chiriseri, Catherine Chauruka, Isiah Masendeke, and Evermary Marwa, supported by a group of war veterans, extorted Z$1.4 million dollars from Hossein Abdullar of Fine Print. The employees discovered that the company was changing ownership and extorted the money, with the help of the war veterans, as terminal benefits. They have all since been arrested and charged with extortion and theft. They have been each granted Z$2000 bail.

· War veterans John Mawewe Muzondiwa and John Alexious Makoni, extorted Z$5,000 from each worker at Ploughboy Company, saying it would go to ZANU (PF) headquarters. In reality the two war veterans alone shared the Z$115,000 that they had managed to collect. They have been charged with theft under false pretences.

· War veteran Fabiano Muronzi, extorted Z$6,324,986 from Malcolm Boland and John Stewart. Muronzi claimed that the money was payment for 16 workers dismissed from Boland’s medical company in 1995. Muronzi has since been charged with extortion.

· War veteran Ian Toto threatened the manager of Daily Health Pharmacies and managed to extort drugs worth Z$35,000, a Toyota Cressida, and Z$35,000 in cash. Toto was charged with extortion and granted bail.

· Augustin Ngoshi, a former employee of Pathology Centre, with the help of war veterans made his former employer, Purchit Ramesochanra Himatil, give him a Z$65,977 cheque. Ngoshi has since been charged with extortion.

· Marguerite Edith Murphy, a former employee of Books of Zimbabwe, solicited the help of war veterans in extorting Z$165,000 from her former employer, Adrian Mark Bolze. War veterans threatened to close the bookshop if Bolze did not pay.

· On 23 May, in Kambuzuma, war veterans attacked the home of Willias Madzamure, the MP for Kambuzuma. All the windows in the house were destroyed, and household goods looted. This was the second attack on Madzimure’s home, which was also attacked on 21 May.

· On 21 May in Kambuzuma, war veterans attacked the home of Willias Madzamure, the MP for Kambuzuma. Persons armed with stones, bricks, sticks, and catapults attacked the house. The group shouted that they wanted to kill Madzimure as they threw stones at his house.

· On 21 May in Kambuzuma, war veterans assaulted MDC supporter Itai Chandiwana at a beer hall near Madzimure’s (MP for Kambuzuma) home. The assailants moved on to attack Madzimure’s home itself.

Makoni East

· ZANU (PF) farm invaders, led by Nathaniel Mhiripiri, clashed with villagers legally settled on a local farm.


· Matthew Dondo and two other unnamed MDC supporters were abducted in the early days of May in the run-up to the Masvingo mayoral election. The three men were abducted and taken to Summerton resettlement scheme where they were threatened with assault and death. Their assailants were allegedly unnamed ZANU (PF) supporters.

· An unnamed ZANU (PF) supporter had his house stoned by MDC supporters in the run-up to the Masvingo mayoral election. The incident occurred in Macheke. Daniel Muchukuti, Kelvin Tichaona, Pilani Ngoniye, Joseph Chenga, July Ngwarati, Brian Mudavanhu, and Witness Madhuna were all arrested in connection with the incident and charged with public violence. They were released on Z$500 bail each.

· MDC supporters assaulted Shylet Uyoyo (Zanu (PF)), Jonasi Mare (ZNLWVA) and 13 unnamed ZANU (PF) supporters in the run-up to the Masvingo mayoral election. Mr. Uyoyo received four stitches at Masvingo General Hospital and the other victims were treated for minor injuries.

· MDC supporters were harassed and assaulted by war veterans in the run up to the Masvingo mayoral elections. Zanu (PF) campaign bases had been established in each of the 10 wards and night meetings were being conducted where MDC supporters were generally intimidated and assaulted.

· Farai Tembo, a ZANU (PF) member, was abducted and taken to Targets Kopje on 11 May after the Masvingo Mayoral election. He was assaulted and injected with an unknown drug, which rendered him unconscious for an hour. He was then taken to Masvingo General Hospital where he was admitted. MDC members Alois Chaimiti, Lawson Mapfira and one unnamed man were identified as the assailants. Mapfira has been picked up for questioning by the police.

· Collin Manyika, a member of ZANU (PF), was allegedly assaulted on 5 May after the Masvingo Mayoral Election by MDC member Alois Chaimiti and an unnamed assailant.

· In the run-up to the Masvingo mayoral election in early May, Shaky Matake and his wife received death threats from supporters of war veteran leader Chenjerai Hunzvi. The Matakes are MDC supporters. The perpetrators are alleged to be Nelson Ziwanai Ndiriri, Milton Mutunga, Tapera Israel Chaumba, Albert Manderera, Amos Mukundamhuka, Rodrick Mhungira and Vacious Raza. Ndiriri, Mutunga, Chaumba, Manderera, Mukundamhuka, Mhungira and Raza were arrested and charged with public violence. They pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 18 months in jail. Simon Matakza, Manuel Maulati and Thandiwe Mudzviti pleaded not guilty and will stand trial.

· On 12 May, ZANU (PF) supporters assaulted an unnamed female CIO agent who was mistaken for an MDC activist. The assault preceded mayoral elections in Masvingo.

· On 21 May, ZANU (PF) supporters and riot police injured an unnamed male Masvingo resident. Riot Police fought MDC youths who formed a human shield against an advancing ZANU (PF) group. The violence occurred in the aftermath of the Masvingo mayoral election, which resulted in an MDC victory.

Mazowe West

· On 16 May, war veterans invaded Mazowe Citrus Estates and demanded the immediate removal of employees linked to the MDC. War veterans accused Richard Chiweta of protecting Farastan Muzondo in the face of their orders to fire Muzondo for his allegiance to the MDC.

Mount Darwin

· On 7 May in Chiutsi Village, approximately 300 to 400 war veterans and ZANU (PF) supporters descended on the home of Mr. Taylor Chimugoti around 3 a.m. The supporters wore ZANU (PF) t-shirts and sang ZANU (PF) slogans. They demanded that Chimugoti surrender MDC cards and other MDC material as they pelted him with stones. Chimugoti fell, and his assailants set upon him with knobkerries and thick poles. The mob of ZANU (PF) supporters searched Chimugoti’s home, stealing some food in the process. Chimugoti was tied up and dragged him for about one kilometer before he fainted. Subsequently, Chimugoti’s children discovered him and took him home. Two assailants were identified as: Benson Suze (ZANU (PF) youth chair) and Shephered Kararira Chiwashira (war veteran).

· On 8 May, war veterans and ZANU (PF) supporters approached Mr. John Machaya and accused him of being an MDC supporter. He was abducted and taken to Katarina Primary School where he was beaten, slapped and forced to chant ZANU (PF) slogans. He was also beaten with poles and had his leg dislocated. He identified his attackers as local chair Abraham Chimhondoro, Beaton Chimuronga, Onias Mende, Chatara, Kadhongi, Martin Kapenda (ZANU (PF)), Benson Zuze (Youth Commander), Shepherd Karawira (District Secretary of Development) and Chiwashira. Mr. Machaya was evicted and does not have prospects for relocation.

· An unnamed member of the MDC was beaten heavily by ZANU (PF) supporters and war veterans in Dotitto. He sustained a broken arm and rib and reported the incident to the police. When the perpetrators heard of this, he was beaten a second time and told to go and report to the police again.

· Two unnamed MDC supporters in Chahwanda were severely assaulted by ZANU (PF) supporters and war veterans. One collapsed and died whilst being assaulted and the other is seriously ill.

· An unnamed MDC supporter was severely beaten at Dotitto ZRP Secondary School by ZANU (PF) supporters and war veterans. Police officers at Dotito did not take any action on reported assaults.


· Peter Mwale and Takunda Mangwende were assaulted in Centenary District on 1 May. They were assaulted with stones and sticks by 30 unnamed ZANU (PF) supporters and were treated for head injuries at Mvurwi Hospital.

· MDC supporter Show Goriati had Z$45,000 worth of property destroyed on 1 May in an attack in Centenary. The attack was perpetrated by ZANU (PF) youths apparently in retaliation for Chief Chiweshe’s assault by MDC supporters on 18 April.

· In Centenary, ZANU (PF) supporters forced villagers to pay between Z$10 and Z$50, as well as donate livestock, in order to help sustain ZANU (PF) youths who were campaigning in the area. The villagers were forced to surrender MDC cards and t-shirts, red caps and cards at night rallies that they are forced to attend.


· Unidentified war veterans abducted Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC MP for Nkayi on 26 May at a filling station and assaulted him. Bhebhe was later released and made a report to police before being treated and discharged from the hospital.