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Amnesty says ‘human rights situation continues to deteriorate’ in Zimbabwe

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF regime has been exposed for continuing to orchestrate human rights abuses and failing to fulfill human development promises in Zimbabwe.

The latest report by Amnesty International (AI) revealed that arbitrary arrests and detention, suppression of freedom of expression, unlawful killings among other human rights abuses are at large in Zimbabwe under the Zanu-PF administration.

“The human rights situation continued to deteriorate, with the government demonstrating hostility to human rights defenders, protesters, political activists and journalists.

“They were harassed, arrested, prosecuted and subjected to prolonged pretrial detention; one activist was killed allegedly by supporters of Zanu-PF, the ruling party,” Amnesty said.

“The state weaponized Covid-19 lockdowns to restrict political activity. Security forces carried out unlawful killings. The Supreme Court quashed a 20-year prison sentence against two opposition supporters.

“Thousands were forcibly evicted from their land. Public hospitals remained underfunded and poor healthcare infrastructure put women’s and girls’ health at risk. Many people were at risk of becoming stateless,” the organisation said.

Amnesty further noted that the government enacted two constitutional amendments which were heavily criticised for undermining the judiciary’s independence.

“In April, parliament passed Constitution Amendment 1 of 2017 allowing the president to appoint the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and High Court Judge President without open selection processes.

“In May, it passed Amendment 2 enabling the president to appoint sitting judges to vacancies in the higher courts, without open selection processes.

“The cost of living increased and the government failed to meet its target to provide 1 million people with social protection and discontinued its Covid-19 social welfare package during the third wave from June to August,” read the report.

Amnesty also noted that the government failed to honour citizens’ right to housing.

“Thousands were made homeless as a result of the authorities’ demolitions of homes built on what the government termed ‘illegal settlements”.

“In rural areas many communities were threatened with forced eviction or evicted for resisting ‘economic investment’ initiatives. For example, thousands of villagers were driven off their land in Chisumbanje in Manicaland province and their crops destroyed to make way for a fuel company to expand its sugar cane plantation,” read the report.

On unlawful killings the report said:

“On 16 January, six soldiers shot at four villagers on the outskirts of Gweru, killing one and injuring others after the locals confronted them for assaulting villagers during a search for copper cable thieves. The six soldiers were arrested, charged with murder and remanded on bail pending trial.

“MDC-A supporter Nyasha Mawere died in November after being beaten in Gutu by suspected Zanu-PF supporters in October. His wife and other relatives were charged with defamation after they accused Zanu-PF members of being responsible. No one was arrested for the killing.”

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