Doctors groups claims state media bullying over August 1 killings report

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By Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has threatened to reveal more damaging detail linking the country’s army to civilian shootings in Harare August 1 which resulted in the death of six.

This followed claims by the group that the State owned Herald newspaper was trying to discredit the independent group’s report released last week incriminating the military on the killings.

In its report entitled: Zimbabwe a New Era/Error, the doctors group said it had attended to 11 people with gapping gun-shot wounds and accused government of a cover-up job while in one case the feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) tried to interfere with medical work.

The state is keen to distance itself from the potentially damaging claims of killing unarmed civilians with both army and police commanders telling a commission of inquiry into the distaburnces last week that their hands were clean on the matter.

They pushed the blame to the opposition and some armed civilians within the Harare City centre.

The police have since told the Commission that it will charge those found responsible with murder as 41 suspects including MDC top official Tendai Biti have been implicated and arrested and are being charged with inciting public violence.

Following its report, ZADHR claimed on Friday that the state media has put up a spirited attempt to discredit its report.

In a statement, ZADHR claimed a state media journalist called and enquired over the group’s source of funding and whether it was linked to political parties.

“ZADHR wishes to alert members of the public, the Motlanthe led commission and all Zimbabweans that there are concerted efforts by the state media to dismiss our recently launched report.

“ZADHR is in possession of communication of a state media journalist who has been enquiring all day about the sources of funding and whether ZADHR is linked to political parties,” said the group.

ZADHR went on to say it was a non-partisan organisation which operated under a constitution that barred its office bearers from holding any public office.

“ZADHR has strategic partnerships with development partners who also fund government programs,” read part of its statement.

It pointed out that its report on victims of political violence was factual and backed by electronic medical records and case affidavits corroborated by forensic pathologists.

“Any attempts to discredit it will be in vain as ZADHR is willing to share more detailed evidence if challenged to do so.

“ZADHR advises the Herald reporter (name supplied) to freely seek a formal appointment with our office if she genuinely wants to report on the activities of ZADHR.”