Annual Report: Zimbabwe 2013

May 30, 2013

Annual Report: Zimbabwe 2013

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  • In October, Elton Mangoma, the MDC-T Minister of Energy and Power Development in the GNU, was arrested and charged with “undermining the authority of or insulting the President” in connection with a statement he made in March at Manhenga Business Centre in Bindura, Mashonaland Central.

Torture and extrajudicial executions in police custody

At least eight people died in police custody under circumstances that suggest that they were tortured or summarily executed.

  • On 19 March, three young men who had been taken into custody at Southerton Police station in Harare died in very suspicious circumstances. Tendai Dzigarwi and Rufaro Mahohoma had been arrested on 18 March in Harare's suburb of Kambuzuma by police from the Vehicle Theft Squad. They were arrested on suspicion of motor vehicle theft. A third man, Emmson Ngundu, was arrested on 19 March in Zvimba district. The police claimed the three men were killed during an attempted escape, but an independent post-mortem conducted on Tendai Dzigarwi concluded that he died from a gunshot wound to the head fired from 2-3cm. Eyewitness accounts of the wounds of the other two men point to the same conclusion.
  • On 13 September, two days after his release, Harrison Manyati died at Harare Central Hospital from injuries sustained during torture while in detention at Makoni Police station in Chitungwiza. Harrison Manyati had been arbitrarily arrested and unlawfully detained on 7 September after he had gone to the police station to enquire about a friend arrested for housebreaking, theft and illegal entry. Police accused him of being an accomplice and he was detained for four days without being charged or taken to court. Police told family members that Harrison Manyati had committed no crime. When he was released he laid charges of assault against the police officers. According to an eyewitness, Manyati was tortured during the first two days of his detention, and then detained for two days to allow the wounds to heal. An independent post-mortem report concluded that Manyati's death was a direct result of torture.
  • Blessing Matanda was found dead in a police cell at Munyati Police Base station in Kwekwe on 4 October, the day he was taken into custody under unclear circumstances. Matanda told a relative who visited him that the arresting officers had threatened to “fix” him. Police claim Matanda shot himself, but offered no explanation as to how he had access to a gun. An independent pathologist cast doubt on the allegation of suicide.

Forced evictions

Seven years on, tens of thousands of people affected by the 2005 mass forced evictions Operation Murambatsvina still lived in settlements with no schools, health care, water, sanitation or roads. Despite public acknowledgement by authorities of the lack of schooling in particular, no measures were taken to ensure the thousands of affected children can access free primary education.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

Hostility directed at non-gender-conforming individuals and discrimination against LGBTI people continued to be rife in the country. The media contributed to public prejudices against LGBTI individuals by publishing hostile comments about LGBTI people made by political leaders, particularly within the context of debate around the new Constitution. ZANU-PF and MDC-T accused each other of “harbouring” LGBTI people. Politicization of the debate on outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity fuelled harassment and intimidation of LGBTI people by police.