By Bulawayo Correspondent
AS Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating International Human Rights Day Thursday, some political parties and human rights activists in Bulawayo have accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of surpassing late former President Robert Mugabe’s checkered human rights record.
The United Nations set aside December 10 as the International Human Rights Day.
During the day, values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are commemorated.
Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said since President Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe 2017, the country’s human rights situation has become worse.
“There has been a deterioration of human rights as witnessed by a spike in human right violations. It is clear that the implementors under Mugabe regime are the ones now holding levers of power which they forcibly acquired through a military coup.
“Disappearances, abductions, the hallmark of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s dark past are on the rise, together with outright violations of the most basic of human rights such as right to health, water, education, shelter, freedom of speech and association as well as economic participation,” said Maphosa.
The Zapu spokesperson also described government’s recent ban on all pending by-elections as blatant human rights violations never seen during Mugabe’s rein.
“The most basic of democratic tenets have been under constant suppression since the so-called new dispensation.
“Elections, which are the cornerstone of all democratic processes, have been banned by the ‘coupists’ under very dubious reasons.
“This violates the right to choose leadership and influence national policy through democratic and legal ways,” he said.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health Minister, has banned by-elections in the country citing the outbreak of Covid-19.
Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) president Mqondisi Moyo said his party has mostly borne the brunt of the current government’s ruthless crackdown on dissent.
“There is no new dispensation in Zimbabwe, as the Emmerson Mnangagwa government continues to violate the rights of the citizens. As MRP, we are the most affected ever since Mnangagwa took over from his mentor Robert Mugabe. Me and my party members continue to be arrested and persecuted by this satanic Zanu PF government,” said the politician.
He accused the government of selective application of the law and violating the country’s Constitution.
“We have seen the military and the police tormenting people during the lockdown, taking advantage of the Covid-19 restrictions.
“For example, here in Bulawayo we have seen private kombis’ windows being smashed by police yet the Constitution of the country and the ZRP Charter is clear that the police is there to secure the lives and property of citizens.
“Zanu PF and security forces have become law unto themselves,” said Moyo.
Bulawayo based human rights activist Mbuso Fuzwayo echoed similar sentiments.
“The difference between Mugabe and Mnangagwa is that the latter is reckless while the former was cautious. The two are two sides of a coin but when it comes to the numbers of people who have either disappeared or been killed, Mnangagwa takes the trophy,” said Fuzwayo.
He said what makes Mnangagwa more culpable was that he was involved in both Gukurahundi and post-Gukurahundi atrocities such as the August 2018 army shootings on civilians.
“Mnangagwa is implicated in the Gukurahundi atrocities and the daylight killing of unarmed civilians in front of international media. He is also abusing the courts to fix or silence political or business opponents,” added Fuzwayo.
This year’s theme “Recover Better-Stand Up for Human Rights” places respect and upholding of human rights at the heart of recovery efforts to end the spread of Coronavirus.
The government has denied the human rights claims, insisting it has carried out democratic reforms and that it is justified in taking “measures” against people who are seeking to illegally overthrow the Zanu PF led administration.