Annual Report: Zimbabwe 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Zimbabwe 2011

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  • On 25 January, 11 activists from MOZA and WOZA were arrested in Bulawayo after a peace march to hand in a report on education in Bulawayo. They were forcibly marched to the Drill Hall, beaten with batons by police and then released without charge.
  • On 24 February, Gertrude Hambira, Secretary General of the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), was forced to go into hiding and later to flee the country after six officers from the Criminal Investigation Department of the Zimbabwe Republic Police raided the GAPWUZ offices in Harare looking for her. Before the raid, on 19 February, Gertrude Hambira was summoned to a meeting at Police Headquarters in Harare with a panel of 17 high-ranking security officials from the police, army, air force and intelligence service. She was interrogated with two other union workers about a GAPWUZ report and video highlighting the plight of farm workers and ongoing violence on farms. She was threatened with imprisonment. By the end of the year she had not returned to Zimbabwe.
  • Okay Machisa, National Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), temporarily fled the country after being detained by police on 23 March for his role in a photo exhibition about the 2008 political violence. Police confiscated at least 65 photographs from the exhibition, and only returned them to ZimRights following a High Court ruling. Despite the ruling, police in the towns of Masvingo, Gweru and Chinhoyi stopped similar exhibitions being shown. In Masvingo, ZimRights' regional chairperson Joel Hita was arrested, detained overnight and released on bail.
  • On 26 March, Owen Maseko, an artist based in Bulawayo, was arrested after mounting an exhibition which depicted atrocities in the Matabeleland region in western Zimbabwe during the 1980s. He was charged with "undermining the authority of the President", "inciting public violence" and "causing offence to people of a particular tribe, race, religion", under POSA. He was released on bail on 29 March.
  • On 15 April, Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani, members of WOZA, were arrested by police while attending a peaceful demonstration in Harare against rising electricity prices. They were arrested along with 61 others, and were released after the Attorney General's Office refused to prosecute them.
  • On 3 June, Farai Maguwu, director of the Centre for Research and Development (CRD) based in the town of Mutare, was arrested for exposing human rights violations by the security forces in the diamond fields of Marange. He was charged with "publishing or communicating false information prejudicial to the state" and remanded in custody until 12 July. On 21 October the government dropped the charges. Farai Maguwu was arrested after a meeting with Abbey Chikane, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme monitor on Zimbabwe, reportedly in the presence of state intelligence officers.
  • On 24 June, two members of the Independent Constitution Monitoring Project (ZZZICOMP), Godfrey Nyarota and Tapiwa Mavherevhedze, plus their driver Cornelius Chengu, were arrested in Mutare. They were charged with practising journalism without accreditation and released on bail. Another activist in Mutare, Enddy Ziyera, was detained for several hours without charge on 25 June after taking food to the three detainees.
  • On 27 June, ZZZICOMP monitors Paul Nechishanu, Artwel Katandika and Shingairayi Garira were taken by ZANU-PF supporters to a farm in Makonde district (Mashonaland West province) where they were beaten with logs. Shingairayi Garira sustained injuries to his eardrum while Paul Nechishanu and Artwel Katandika suffered head injuries.
  • On 20 September, 83 activists from WOZA and MOZA were arrested after police in Harare broke up a peaceful demonstration. The activists were part of an estimated 600 WOZA and MOZA members who had marched on Parliament protesting against police abuses and lack of safety in their communities. As police began arresting some demonstrators, others gave themselves up in solidarity. They were detained at Harare Central police station for two nights in filthy conditions before being charged with "criminal nuisance" and released on bail.