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ZimRights News
ISSUE 3 I 31 March 2021
Welcome to ZimRights News
Welcome to ZimRights News, a Monthly Human Rights Update brought to you by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association. We capture for you all the key human rights developments in Zimbabwe. To receive the audio version of this newsletter, subscribe here Or send us a WhatsApp message on +263 772954075

Displacements and Evictions
40 years post-Independence, the displacement of indigenous communities continues. Several people have been displaced without compensation in the past including in Chiadzwa, Marange and other areas. Now the government is on it again as they have gazetted SI50/2021 which ordered eviction of people that live in Chilonga for the purposes of a lucerne grass project and SI51/2021 that declared the land as state land on 26 February 2021. While SI 50/2021 was repealed, by SI72A/2021, SI 51 was not and the people in Chilonga are now living as strangers on their ancestral land, in danger of eviction, to be replaced by lucerne grass for the benefit of a Midlands based dairy company.

Loss of Power for the Legislature
While the Constitution allows for delegated legislation, the speed at which the government is introducing new SIs seems like the Parliament’s law-making power has been usurped by the executive. We are only in March and we already have series of SIs with some of them circumventing democratic law making on issues of great importance like the displacement of 12 000 people from Sengwe (Chilonga) in Chiredzi and the holding of elections.

Parliamentary Recalls
On March 17 2021, 6 more members of the National Assembly were recalled by PDP, bringing the total number of representatives (MPs and Senators) that have lost their sits due to political bickering in their supposed parties to 47. This means that the citizens’ rights to representation in the constituencies and wards affected have been violated.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on the 22nd of March announced the resumption of some electoral activities following Government's relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown early this month. In a statement, ZEC Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana said the electoral body has lifted the suspension of voter registration and some field work it announced in January with effect from 1 April 2021. However, the Commission announced that by-elections remain suspended despite scores of constituencies and wards that remain unrepresented.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), the country’s first post-independence indigenous human rights advocacy group passed a raft of resolutions that will see major changes in how the association operates. The changes will see the creation of a Women Council, the Business Council, the Diversity Council as well as a Diaspora Council as the grassroots movement moves towards a new inclusive human rights strategy for Zimbabwe.

These changes are part of the 14 resolutions passed by ZimRights during an Extraordinary General Meeting convened on 17 March 2021 at a virtual conference called specifically to ratify the resolutions and accelerate the institution’s transformation.
Ndebele Edition
ZimRights believes that Devolution is the single most comprehensive door to a governance system of inclusion, participation and empowerment. As such, we strive to ensure that everybody participates in the devolution discourse. To achieve this, we translated the Guide to Understanding Devolution into Ndebele. If you want to receive the manual on Whats App, send us a Whats App message on +263 772 954 075
Who Will Guard the Guardians?
ZimRights Members in Gweru Confront the Police
ZimRights members in the Midlands have had enough of harassment by state security apparatus. Shadreck Muchena and Jerome Ndanga have taken steps to claim their right to justice. The two Gokwe men have pursued their cases of torture and robbery at the hands of the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officers, after several attempts to have the dockets finalised by the police had hit a brick wall. Shadreck Muchena who had been tortured by members of the army pursued his case despite the threats that he was receiving from members of the Central Intelligence Organisation and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). Jerome Ndanga who witnessed a robbery which was initiated by members of the ZRP, but was being threatened for spilling the beans. With the help of lawyers from the ZimRights Secretariat, he successfully pushed for the opening of a docket against the perpetrators. The two were vigilant in the face of unprecedented threats. 

#SaveChilonga: Civil Society Organising Against Displacements
ZimRights has joined hands with other civil society organisations in fighting displacements under the CSO Working Group Against Displacements. The group is currently campaigning against the displacement of the Shangaan people in Chiredzi. ZimRights notes that there is a growing pattern of government manipulating the absence of security of tenure for communal lands to displace indigenous groups from their ancestral land. Other organisations that are part of the campaign are ZIMCODD, CNRG, WILSA, MACRAD, Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, ZPP and Citizen Manifesto
ZimRights Supports Kuchengetana Relief Kitchen
ZimRights in partnership with the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) supported Kuchengetana Trust Relief Kitchen, in Chitungwiza Unit A Extension being run by Samantha Muzoroki. The Kitchen is providing food to over 3000 residents who are struggling economically and failed to get food during this Covid-19 induced lockdown since the first lockdown on March 30, 2020. ZimRights handed over COVID-19 hygiene packs including gloves, sanitizers and water dispensers. The consignment was handed over to Shelly Munyoro (Samantha Muzoroki’s mother). During the hand over, Munyoro said they served two meals a day, porridge in the morning and supper.
For the people of Chilonga, their right to land remains taken away!
By Rutendo Mawere
In our featured blog, ZimRights Communications Specialist, Rutendo Mawere reflects on what the Chilonga people are going through after their communal land was designated as State Land. What it means to live in uncertainty, in fear and eviction hovering over your head. 
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