Zim post-election human rights abuses disappoint international community


HARARE, August 7 – The European Union (EU) delegation and the heads of mission of EU States have expressed concern over the post-election violence that rocked Harare last week, saying it is against the high hopes and expectations for a peaceful election in Zimbabwe.

In a joint statement, the mission heads condemned, in strongest terms, the arrest of and acts of intimidation targeted at opposition party supporters and their leaders.

“The heads of mission of the EU, Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America note with grave concern the eruption of violence and occurrences of serious human rights violations following the peaceful election on July 30, 2018,” they said.

“These tragic events stand in sharp contrast to the high hopes and expectations for peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Zimbabwe.”

The HOMs further urged the government to respect the rights of Zimbabweans as enshrined in the Constitution.

Twenty-six MDC Alliance supporters were arrested following the deadly violence, which left six people dead and several others nursing life-threatening injuries.

The MDC supporters have since been released on $50 bail.

“All allegations of incitement to violence or violent acts, as well as vandalism and destruction of property, should be investigated in accordance with the rule of law and perpetrators held legally responsible,” the missions’ statement read.

The Australian government has also piled pressure on the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government by urging it to be more open and seek justice for the victims of Wednesday’s fateful events.

“We note the increased openness of the 2018 elections. We urge that this is built on through increased transparency and accountability in the interests of achieving justice for victims, resolving disputes peacefully and through legal channels and repairing trust,” part of the Australian government’s statement read.

The post-election skirmishes are likely to put a big dent on Mnangagwa’s re-engagement efforts with the international community, especially with the EU and America.

Since wresting power from former President Robert Mugabe last November, Mnangagwa has been making frantic efforts to engage long-time foes and put Zimbabwe on the map.

However, all this was hinged on last week’s election, which seemed to have gone smoothly until the MDC Alliance, led by Nelson Chamisa, raised vote-rigging alarms and took to the streets, a move which gave birth to the violence

Mnangagwa last week promised to set up an independent commission of inquiry to look into the violence, which saw the army firing live ammunition on citizens.

Home affairs minister Obert Mpofu was quick to push the blame on MDC Alliance supporters and distanced the police and the army from any wrongdoing.

Since the election, however, there have been several reports of intimidation, assault and abductions of opposition supporters.

Members of the armed forces have also been accused of assaulting defenceless citizens.

Residents in several high-density suburbs are living in fear, as they accuse the army of terrorising them at night.

– African News Agency (ANA)