By Leopold Munhende
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has published a damning report on rampant human rights violations in the country under incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Forum, a union of 21 rights based NGOs in the country, further accused the Zanu PF leader of making life unbearable for citizens as was the case during the horror days when the country was still under late strongman Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe’s regime saw the slaughter of an estimated 20 000 citizens in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s and Operation Murambatsvina in 2005, among other difficult post-independence periods.
The accusations are contained in the Forum’s human rights violations report.
The cited violations were recorded between April and September this year when the country was under strict Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
“As pointed out at the outset of this report, the promises of a ‘new dispensation’ have disappeared, and the patterns of misgovernance and human rights abuse that characterised Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe’s rule have re-emerged,” the Forum said.
“It seems that they have worsened from 2017, and the Human Rights Forum has even made the judgment that some of these violations can be characterised as crimes against humanity.
“This is a very serious claim indeed, and one that should be taken very seriously by all, including the international community, particularly when this is a charge that has been made in the past in respect of Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina.
“It also is very serious when this occurs within the context of Covid-19, deepening poverty and widespread hunger for the majority of Zimbabweans, and massive corruption that is bleeding the country of critical resources needed for the protection of its citizens.
“The evident fragility of the country cannot be managed by the resort to coercion and rule by presidential decree.”
The Forum also noted and condemned the use of coercion on dissenting voices.
“Constitutionalism and the rule of law have been replaced by coercion and decree, and it is unremarkable that Zimbabwe is receiving increased pressure from the international community for reform, even concern from SADC countries and the African Union, in order to arrest the slide from fragile to failed state, something must be done with urgency.”
The call for urgent action by the Forum comes only a day after opposition MDC Alliance deputy national chairperson, Job Sikhala appealed to the United Nations (UN) Security Council to immediately consider military intervention due to the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in the country.