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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.