‘Human Rights deteriorating fast in Zimbabwe’ – MDC

Gladys Hlatywayo
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The Movement for Democratic Change says the human rights situation in Zimbabwe is fast deteriorating and there is growing evidence of rising authoritarianism.

The MDC says a record breaking 21 opposition and Civil Society leaders including Parliamentarians and labour leaders face trumped up and serious charges of subversion.

Gladys Hlatywayo, the MDC Secretary for international Relations says such persecution by the state is an abrogation of constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and to free political activity.

Ms. Hlatywayo says a few days ago, the labour leaders received anonymous letters with bullets in a clear move meant to intimidate the labour movement against exercising their right to demonstrate and petition as codified in Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Speaking in Lusaka, Ms. Hlatywayo said the MDC is also worried by the high levels of impunity where perpetrators of human rights abuses are not held to account.

She said the perpetrators of August 1 killings, where a total of 7 unarmed civilians were shot dead by the military have not been brought to book despite recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission.

Ms. Hlatywayo said similarly, the security forces responsible for the 17 extra-judiciary killings and several sexually related violations among other violations of the January 2019 clampdown were not held to account.

She noted with regret that at the center of these human rights violations are security forces, especially the military.

“Section 210 of the Constitution provides for an Independent Complaints Mechanism where citizens can get recourse in the event of violations by security forces. This vital organ will go a long way in dealing with militarisation and an unaccountable security service and yet it has not been set up”, she lamented.

And, Ms. Hlatywayo said Zimbabweans are grappling with serious socio-economic problems including excessive power cuts of 18hrs a day, water rationing, shortages of basic commodities such as fuel and bread, collapse of social services including health and education, skyrocketing prices and high inflation that has doubled to 175% and poverty.

She said this is evidenced by a staggering 83% of Zimbabweans living below the poverty datum line on less than US$ 0.35 per day.

Ms. Hlatywayo said Corruption and patronage is rampant in state institutions as recently corroborated by the Auditor General’s report.

She noted that the knee-jerk outlaw of the multi-currency system though SI142 has further worsened the situation.

Ms. Hlatywayo said the policy was prematurely pronounced in the absence of requisite macroeconomic fundamentals to support a sovereign currency including a trade surplus, at least 6 months import cover, a healthy capital account, productivity and high capacity utilization, single digit inflation, building of confidence and a realistic exchange rate.

She noted that in the absence of these fundamentals, the policy has resulted in continued increases of prices and inflation, shortages and a high possibility that government will resort to the printing of money to cover its obligations, resulting in a debauched currency.