Police patrol in Harare, Zimbabwe, January 20, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
The Forum continues to monitor the environment following the protests and national shut down last week. This report gives a summary of the key developments. In this report we survey the situation around the country were in some places the police continued assaulting people. We report on the Civil Society Heads of Coalitions statement, the report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) implicating ZNA and ZRP in torture and the solidarity statement from Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN).
Around the Country
On Monday and Tuesday (21 and 22 January), citizens in Nyanga blocked roads in response to the continued shutdown advertised on social media. On 21 January, soldiers sent teachers home because most businesses were closed in Nyanga. In Hwange, teachers sent school children back home, stating they were not teaching today. Apart from this incident all is reported to be quiet in Hwange.
In Bulawayo, there was heavy police and army presence in the CBD and in high density suburbs such as Lobengula. Businesses had resumed normal operation. In Gweru, there was heavy presence of the military especially at shopping centres. It is also reported the military are enforcing a 1800hrs curfew. There was an altercation between military police and a ZRP support unit officer at Mkoba 1 shops in Gweru on 21 January, 2019.
In Mvurwi, 15 people were arbitrarily arrested since the protests began. There is still heavy police presence. In Buhera South, there is heavy presence of armed police at Rukanda and Chitekwe Growth Points.
The wholesale arrests of people by the police continues. The ZLHR has reported that they have now received requests for help by 640 arrested individuals around the country. Saddening is the detention of children together with adults.
Police Raid Medical Facility
In the evening of 21 January 2019, police raided a non-profit medical facility that was treating victims of police and military brutality. The victims were assaulted and taken to Law and Order section where there are still detained.
Raids and Continued Attacks on CSOs
The Forum notes with concern the continued raids and attacks on CSOs. A medical facility were victims of military and police brutality were receiving medical assistance was raided and all victims are currently in police custody. CSO leaders continue to face increased attacks. The Forum has received numerous distress calls from CSO leaders.
Heads of Civil Society Coalitions Statement
Faced with continued attacks, several civil society leaders met in Harare today. They deplored the criminalization of civil society, demanded ceasation of attacks against civil society leaders and welcomed the call for national dialogue by President Mnangagwa. Watch the presser here.
ZNA & ZRP Tortured People According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) investigated complaints related to the ZimShutdown They carried out a monitoring mission from the 16th to the 21st of January 2019. Their report finds that ZNA and ZRP instigated torture and killed people. See the full report here
The Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN) has issued a statement in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe demanding that the government stops the attack on the population. Read the statement here.