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ZimRights News
A NEWSLETTER OF THE ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION
ISSUE 15 I 27 SEPTEMBER 2020
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 Here you will also find the podcast in English, Shona and Ndebele.

*SEPTEMBER HIGHLIGHTS*
Prison Horror: Following the release of Godfrey Kurauone, Hopewell Chin’ono, Jacob Ngarivhume and Job Sikhala, the four have told horror stories of prison life. “It is meant for animals,” said Godfrey. “It is meant to break you,” said Jacob. They spoke about overcrowding, lack of ablution facilities, poor sanitation, and non-existent COVID-19 measures. This bring into focus the need for prison reform. ZimRights has donated sanitisers and masks to prisons in Harare, Gwanda, Mutare, Masvingo and Midlands in an effort to alleviate the situation. Without comprehensive reform, these remain just but a drop in the ocean. Listen to Godfrey Kurauone narrating his ordeal in prison.

Weaponisation of the Law: Despite the release on bail and acquittal of other political prisoners, the weaponisation of the law continued.

On 24 August, three activists were arrested for protesting at the courts over the arrest of Job Sikhala. These were Terrence Manjengwa, Blessed Changara and Barnabas Gura. They are still languishing in prison after bail denial.

ZINASU president Takudzwa Ngadziore was arrested for the second time on 18 September for addressing a press statement 101 meters from Impala Car Rental demanding that Impala discloses information relating to the abduction of 22 year old Tawanda Muchehiwa. He is languishing in prison after bail has been denied.

On 24 September, Harare Magistrate Bianca Makwande ordered the detention of Harare West Member of Parliament Joanna Mamombe pending psychiatric examination. This Flag founder Evan Mawarire described this step as ‘pure evil’.


Militia Attack ZINASU Leaders and Journalists: On 18 September, unknown armed men attacked ZINASU leaders during a press conference held 101 metres from Impala Car Rental premises. Journalists were also attacked, and their cameras and recording equipment was destroyed in the process. Human rights groups roundly condemned this attack. See our statement here. Listen to the MISA Director, Tabani Moyo condemn the attack on journalists as evidence of ‘state-business collusion’.

Extra Extra-Judicial Killings: The state has been implicated in alleged extra-judicial killing of 2 Chivhu men, Ephain Jani (20) and Eliot Chihambakwe (45) on 6 September. The two were alleged to have opened fire on soldiers in Chivhu killing one Lance Corporal Lorance Mupanyanga and seriously injuring Corporal Peter Zvirevo. Human rights groups have called this a case of extra-judicial killing. The police paraded the dead bodies in the streets in scenes described as barbaric. ZimRights condemns all violence and believes suspected criminals should have been arrested and brought before the courts of law.

FIDH & ZIMRIGHTS DEPLORE PERSECUTION OF DISSENTERS
ZimRights and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) have condemned the persecution of dissenters. In a statement released on 11 September 2020, the two organisations said the targeted attacks on dissenting voices by the state that are clearly aimed at morally exhausting, silencing, punishing, impoverishing, and physically injuring the targeted individuals, and exposing them to the risk of contracting the virus while arbitrarily detained in prisons.
FEATURED EVENT
THE DEVOLUTION SERIES: EPISODE 2 - 4
THE CASE OF KENYA AND SWITZERLAND
In the month of September we continued with our high level devolution series.

The series featured Prof. Tim Murithi from Cape Town who spoke about the peace potential of devolution. He warned against ‘devolution lite’ and said real devolution gives real power to communities, not mere delegation.

In Episode 3, Mr. Patrick Karanja from Kenya’s Ministry of Devolution spoke about devolution and inclusive economy. Episode 4 featured Swiss Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr. Niculin Jäger who spoke about equity, participation and direct democracy. You can see all the episodes on our You Tube Channel going live on 28 September.

29 SEPTEMBER : INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR ACCESS TO INFORMATION
ZimRights Launches ZimRightsLIVE
ZimRights LIVE brings together ZimRights’ media platforms incorporating its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and this Podcast. In addition, ZimRights will launch its brand new YouTube Channel. These tools are part of ZimRights’ Digital Activism Strategy designed to provide a variety of tools for human rights activists to undertake positive acts to advance the human rights cause.

Speaking ahead of the launch, ZimRights National Director Dzikamai Bere said ZimRights’ Digital Activism Strategy was meant to bring human rights information and advocacy tools into the hands of as many people as possible at the touch of a button.

“In this digital age, many people, especially the young and the diaspora community, are eager to close the borders and build a formidable human rights community. ZimRights is ready to facilitate such a transformation.” Bere said.
COMMUNITY ADVOCACY ON LAND CONFLICTS
ZIMRIGHTS SPEAKS OUT AGAINST LAND BARONS
ZimRights has been documenting several cases of land conflicts in Masvingo, Chiredzi, Hwange and Harare. On 3 September the National Army demolished houses in Belvedere West that were alleged to have been built illegally on the space reserved for the Heroes Acre. Although there was a court order ZimRights, condemned the manner in which the demolitions were carried out. Read our full statement here.

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNS
TOP TEN THREATS TO PEACE: WHAT WE CAN DO
ACCORDING TO ZIMRIGHTS COMMUNITIES
In September, ZimRights launched a peace quiz to get an overall appreciation of the core things disturbing peace in communities as we celebrated the International Day of Peace marked every September 21. The feedback from our members across the country constitute the special report on Threats to Peace in Zimbabwe: What we all can do. Download the report here.
ZIMRIGHTS COVID-19 RESPONSE
Despite the decrease in the COVID-19 statistics, ZimRights still believes the fight against the spread of the virus is still on. ZimRights has therefore continued distribution of hygiene packs and masks. During the month of September donations were made to Harare Remand Prison, Kwekwe Prison, Chiwundura Council Clinic, Masikana Rural Clinic in Marondera East and Dombwe Clinic in Murehwa South.
ZIMRIGHTS AUDIBLE
Water Crisis in Epworth
As we mentioned in our Rights in Crisis Report, while the rest of the world are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Zimbabweans are fighting several other “pandemics,” on top of COVID-19. In Epworth the fight against COVID-19 has almost become impossible as the lack of access to clean and safe water has resulted in the community gathering at the infamous Pool of Death for the precious liquid, disregarding COVID-19 regulations. The community members tell their water tales.
FEEDBACK
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Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
Phone +263 242 707 278 | Hotline +263 734 053 955
info@zimrights.org.zw
www.zimrights.org.zw