The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum published a report on Friday in which it claimed that human rights violations in the country under current President Emmerson Mnangagwa are worse than those carried out under former Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.
The human rights forum is a union of 21 rights-based NGOs in Zimbabwe. The Forum’s report cited human rights violations “recorded between April and September this year when the country was under strict Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] lockdown restrictions,” New Zimbabwe noted on Friday.
“The [government’s] promises of a ‘new dispensation’ have disappeared, and the patterns of misgovernance and human rights abuse that characterized Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe’s rule have re-emerged,” the Forum stated in its report. These abuses have worsened since Mugabe left office in 2017, the group asserted, adding that “some of these violations can be characterized as crimes against humanity.”
“Mugabe’s regime saw the slaughter of an estimated 20,000 citizens in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s and Operation Murambatsvina in 2005, among other difficult post-independence periods,” New Zimbabwe recalled.
The newspaper noted that the recent human rights violations in Zimbabwe have occurred “within the context of Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus], deepening poverty, and widespread hunger for the majority of Zimbabweans, and massive corruption that is bleeding the country of critical resources needed for the protection of its citizens.”
The Forum condemned what it referred to as “the use of coercion on dissenting voices” in Zimbabwe. “The evident fragility of the country cannot be managed by the resort to coercion and rule by presidential decree,” the human rights group argued in its report.
“Constitutionalism and the rule of law have been replaced by coercion and decree [in Zimbabwe],” according to the Forum.
“Zimbabwe is receiving increased pressure from the international community for reform, even concern from SADC [Southern African Development Community] countries and the African Union, in order to arrest the slide from fragile to failed state [sic],” the group revealed, adding “something must be done with urgency.”
“The call for urgent action by the Forum comes only a day after opposition MDC Alliance deputy national chairperson, Job Sikhala appealed to the United Nations (UN) Security Council to immediately consider military intervention due to the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in the country,” New Zimbabwe reported.
Sikhala made his appeal to the U.N. at a press conference in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, on Thursday. The briefing followed the latest arrest of investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, a dissenting voice in Zimbabwe whom the government has repeatedly suppressed in recent months.
“We call upon the UN in terms of Chapter VII of the UN Charter specifically Article 43 that allows the UN Security Council to pass a resolution concerning those states with a humanitarian crisis,” Sikhala said.
“The UN must be able to exercise its powers, sit down and pass a resolution that the crisis in Zimbabwe cannot be allowed to escalate the way it is because it is a threat to stability in our country that can spill over into the SADC region,” Sikhala added.