By Patrick Gore 17th December, 2012


We need to put more pressure!

It is now clear that a mere change of government in Zimbabwe will not guarantee the respect of Human Rights in the country. The existence of the current GNU has done almost next to nothing in improving the respect and observance of human rights in the country. Whilst we have seen an abatement in political violence and an improvement, minimal as it might be, in the commerce of the country, the issue of human rights abuses still remains.

In the times of Rhodesia, the black citizens of the country had no rights at all in almost all spheres of life. Indeed, the abuse of human rights was used as an instrument of oppression. The situation did not improve at all at independence although there was an illusion that they had. The Security sectors retained the same powers they had during the Smith regime and the same legislations were retained. Arbitrary arrests, police and army perpetrated beatings, harassment by the intelligence organisations, victimisation of political opponents, were a part of life in Rhodesia and remain so today. The inclusion of the two MDC formations in the government has not seen an improvement on this matter at all. The abatement in political violence gives an illusion that there has been an improvement. But we must remember that there was a sharp escalation in political violence as ofFebruary 2000 after Zimbabweans voted against adopting the Zanu PF manufactured Draft Constitution.

The inclusion of the two MDC factions in the government has not seen the police, army and intelligence services reigned in. Indeed, current indications show that Zanu PF is preparing for another violent and abusive campaign. The recent army disruptions of MDC rallies as well as the escalating harassment of human rights activists by the police are a testament to this.

The situation as it stands today highlights the need for those fighting for the respect of human rights in our country to step up the pressure. The various human rights advocate groups have done a lot in disseminating information, highlighting cases of abuse and helping victims. This must be applauded, but indications on the ground show that certain sections of the government and armed forces have no intention of ever respecting human rights as this will erode their hold on power. A change of government will most likely see the new government doing the same as they scramble for ill-gotten riches. Our salvation lies in us continuing to demand our rights. We have achieved much, but there is much more to be achieved…..Ngoma ndiyo ndiyo.