News / Africa

    Rising Political Violence Reported in Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (file photo)
    Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (file photo)

    South African mediators travel to Zimbabwe in the next few days amidst reports of increasing political violence and selective arrests in the country. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says security forces are violating their national mandate, and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF blocks reconstruction of Zimbabwe.

    The Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, says that since the start of the year its supporters and civil society activists are being arrested on spurious charges as part of an increased harassment campaign against the party. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says that it is currently dealing with more than 30 cases.

    One of those arrests is legislator Douglas Mwonzora. He is the co-chairman of the parliamentary committee supervising the process of drafting a new constitution and was arrested outside parliament this week. His lawyers say he was taken more than 200 kilometers from Harare and that by late Thursday they had not had any access to him.

    The MDC and rights lawyers say many of the arrests are coordinated by the Law and Order Department of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, which has frequently been accused of torture and selective arrests.

    Human rights workers say the department, which operates in the capital Harare, gets its orders to arrest MDC personnel and supporters from Johannes Tomana, the pro-ZANU-PF attorney-general.

    Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the MDC and prime minister in the inclusive government blames police for what he says are selective arrests. "The police, the army and the Central Intelligence Organization are all national security institutions created to protect Zimbabweans and not harm them. Over the past two years these institutions have shown no evidence of reforming," he said.

    Regarding the arrests, police spokeman Wayne Bvudzijena said: "When people commit an offense they get arrested, so why are people committing offenses?" He said he could not comment on individual cases.

    In similar instances in the past, the police have denied suggestions they arrest people selectively on trumped up charges. However, lawyers note that in such cases in the past, charges have been dropped or prosecutions have failed in the courts.

    Speaking in Harare this week, Mr. Tsvangirai said people need confidence that the security forces have reformed. "They have failed to adjust to the realities of an inclusive society by refusing to let go of their partisan attitude which has eroded national confidence at a time when the people want assurance of their security well ahead of the next elections," he said.

    Mr. Tsvangirai said when the inclusive government came to power two years ago it immediately began to improve people’s lives. "We managed to mitigate the appalling situation in which our nation found itself after a decade of failed policies and violent repression of the peoples will," he said.

    Mr. Tsvangirai said ZANU-PF was only interested in staying in power and was disputing and blocking simple reforms. "Our ZANU-PF colleagues concentrate more on competition than collaboration, deliberately oblivious to the coalition government’s important role to have a common vision to build the economy, to build the people’s lives," he said.

    In the last year there has been little progress in implementing 24 outstanding issues from the global political agreement which brought the inclusive government to power two years ago.

    The agreement, guaranteed by the Southern African Development Community, appointed South Africa to mediate the Zimbabwe crisis.

    Zimbabwe political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said this week that South African mediation is not doing well at present.

    The three South African mediators are due in Harare in the coming days and will hear from MDC representatives that there has been no progress on the 24 outstanding issues Mr. Mugabe agreed to implement at a SADC summit seven months ago.

    Mr. Mugabe later said that some outstanding issues would not be implemented until western restrictions against himself, his ZANU-PF colleagues and 31 mostly state-owned companies were lifted.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora