Masvingo district condemns increase in rights violations.

Masvingo district community members raised concern over an increase in human rights violations in the district.

This was highlighted during a community dialogue meeting organized by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) in Masvingo district ward 18 in June 2023.

 Community members openly said, there is a group called Forever Associate Zimbabwe (FAZ) violating human rights in all wards in the district.

 In every ward, each group consists of 3 representatives, who will be taking details from the people. The community members raised a concern on the legality of FAZ and its member’s roles which includes taking details of community members as well as asking them about their voter registration and political status. In Matsikidze village alleged FAZ members identified as Vunganai Mutumhe, Gabriel Manatsa, and Mr Matsikidze are being accused of leading the processing of collecting details and asking the community members for their personal details.

A community member said, “The FAZ team is campaigning for the ruling party and are forcing every community member to support the sitting President, they are intimidating the community and forcefully urging the electorates to vote wisely by voting for the sitting President to avoid the 2008 scenario”. They were given cell phones which they used for data collection from the communities and it is said that they shared the information they collected with the Central Intelligent officers (CIOs) and other top ruling party officials.

The matter was reported to the Zimbabwe Republic Police but no action was taken. Attempts to get a comment from the ZRP were futile as our calls were unanswered.

Similar cases of human rights violation were also recorded in wards 16, 17, and 21 of Masvingo district.  One of the village heads who speak to COTRAD on the condition of anonymity said “As village heads we were ordered by the FAZ leaders to compile a list of every community member and which party they belong to and submit the copies to the FAZ members”.

Community members are forced to join ruling party cell groups and are instructed not to attend other political party meetings or meetings organized by NGOs without FAZ or village head’s approval, a right to freedom of assembly is continuously violated. Ward 16 councilor Demba highlighted that “community members, especially opposition party supporters are now leaving in fear of their lives, as they are receiving threats daily from FAZ members for supporting their political parties”. He further encouraged the community members and public officials to restrain violence and unite for the common good of the community.

COTRAD urges the community members to be peaceful as we are towards the elections, despite coming from different political backgrounds. COTRAD also urged the community members to report all forms of human rights violations to public officials, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the police and other relevent institutions. COTRAD encourages political parties to mobilize their supporters in peace and traditional leaders to comply with the Zimbabwean constitution and not be involved in politics as stated in section 280 (2) of the constitution.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button