HARARE, ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s opposition parties, human rights groups and churches marked the one-year anniversary Thursday of the day when the army killed about a dozen people protesting the delayed release of election results.
Members of the crowd say they will continue asking for divine intervention in this southern African nation, where the political landscape has been long tainted by violence.
Loveday Munesi could not attend Thursday’s event. He was shot in the melee on Aug. 1, 2018, and a bullet lodged in his right buttock. Since then, he has been unable to work or walk comfortably.
“I can no longer go to work because of difficulties in walking,” he said. “With what has happened to me and where we are now, I just believe that there is a lot of abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe. Because up to now, I haven’t received any medical help pertaining to my injuries from the government.”
Doctors say the 30-year-old needs at least $15,000 to go to South Africa or India for an operation to remove the bullet, something that can’t be done in Zimbabwe without damaging Munesi’s nerves.
At Thursday’s event marking the army killings, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party said Harare must compensate the injured, like Munesi, as well as the families of those who were killed.
Daniel Molokhele, the spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, says this lack of compensation shows that the government is not taking the issue of human rights seriously.
“Obviously, the [victims’] families, they need compensation, they need to be recognized in public,” he said. “We need that social damage to be addressed, their welfare and so on. But most importantly, a public commitment by the government to make sure that we earned this situation, this cycle where state securities, state police, state army are heavily involved in the political discourse of this country.”
Rights group Amnesty International says it wants the soldiers who killed the protesters to be held accountable, as per recommendations of a government-appointed commission.
Ziyambi Ziyambi, Zimbabwe’s justice minister, said Thursday that financial issues are slowing the implementation of many government commitments, including paying the medical bills for people like Munesi.
Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state has banned a former Zimbabwean military officer from entering the U.S. because he led the army response to the protests.
Anselem Sanyatwe, who led the Zimbabwe National Army’s Presidential Guard Brigade, is now heading to Tanzania to be Zimbabwe’s ambassador in the east African nation. – VOA