HUMAN rights watchdog the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (The Forum) says terror is reigning supreme in the country as violations of fundamental rights escalate with no trusted avenues for recourse.
The post-election period has been marred by serious violations, which have seen opposition activists and human rights defenders being targets.
This growing culture of impunity has attracted the ire of the international community and pressure groups.
In its latest communiqué, The Forum urged the government to fulfil its commitment to international instruments that seek to protect human rights, amid indications of an increase in impunity.
“Enforced disappearance is a practice that is strictly prohibited under international human rights law in all circumstances. It is an abhorrent practice that amounts to a serious violation of several freedoms and rights protected under international human rights law,” reads the communiqué.
“Given the potentially explosive situation we now find ourselves in as a country, The Forum strongly urges the government of Zimbabwe to stand firm by its commitment during the 77th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, that it welcomes a fact-finding mission to look into human rights issues of concern raised by Zimbabwe CSOs [civil society organisations] and various regional human rights organisations that are inclusive of but not limited to abductions/enforced disappearances.
“Urgently constitute and operationalise the independent complaints mechanism envisioned under section 210 of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe which will enable victims and survivors of human rights violations and abuses by of members of the security services to lodge complaints and have an avenue for redress.”
The country has seen an increase in human abuses ahead of the by-elections slated for December 9, after a series of recalls by self-proclaimed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.
For instance, former Mabvuku legislator James Chidhakwa was abducted on October 23, while picking his wife from work. This month, Bishop Tapfumaneyi Masaya, a cleric was abducted while campaigning in Mabvuku, Harare on behalf of CCC’s main candidate for the December by-elections.
He was bundled into a vehicle by unknown men and was never seen or heard from again. His body was found three days after his abduction.
According to his own narration, while parked outside, a metallic blue Toyota Fortuner parked next to him, at around 1900hrs, and the assailants forcefully bundled him into their car.
A sack was placed over his head, after which the assailants proceeded to thoroughly beat him as the vehicle drove away.
After the car stopped, a knife was used to cut off his clothes from his body, and was later injected with an unknown substance, after which he was again physically assaulted and beaten again.
Earlier this month, main opposition CCC legislator Takudzwa Ngadziore was saved by a seven-minute long Facebook Live video he was recording after learning that he was being followed by AK47-wielding assailants.
Ngadziore was found tortured, battered and naked, also allegedly injected with an unknown substance before being dumped at Christon Bank, Mazowe, a few kilometres from Harare.
“It is a well-established fact that victims of abduction are themselves turned into accused persons when they attempt to file reports with the police. The victim-turned-accused trend has been deployed in some cases to victimise victims of abductions and torture in Zimbabwe,” it reads.