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12-19 November 2015

Media Monitoring Report Zimbabwe (12-19 November 2015)
Posted on November 20, 2015

Contents

Compiled by – MIGS Desk Officer for Zimbabwe – Pierre Bussières

  1. Human rights
  2. Freedom of speech
  3. Analysis

1.   Human Rights
Independent Media

"ZHRC vows to investigate political violence cases" November 12, NewsDay

  • ZHRC chairperson, Elasto Mugwadi, said “We will investigate any issues involving violation of human rights. We will definitely investigate the matter and if the complaint is filed, we will follow it up,” He added he was not aware of the complaint filed by opposition party MDC
  • ZHRC suggested that the Police Service Commission improve Police training in terms of Human Rights  and politically motivated violence cases
  • “It is clearly written in the Constitution that everyone has a right to join any political party without any use of violence, says  former Zanu PF youth leader, Jim Kunaka. “People shouldn’t fight. Youths are busy engaging in violence, but you will not see the senior party officials there. Youths should desist from a culture of violence.”

"ZLHR convinced Zimbos to not approve abductions" November 17, Bulawayo

  • Zimbabweans do not approve of abduction and enforced disappearances, say Zimbabwe Laywers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on the multiple such cases that occurred recently in the country
  • "We are convinced that Zimbabweans don't approve of abduction and enforced disappearances. On their part, some Zimbabweans remain unwavering in appealing to the conscience of those who know and may have some leads as to what happened and what is currently happening to Itai Dzamara to share."

"Zimbabwe police arrest female student protestor." November 14, TimesLive

  • The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) said in a statement that Police used force to break up demonstration over poor learning conditions at state universities
  • One of those arrested included a disabled polytechnic student
  • Rights lawyer Obey Shava said police where unsure about what charges could be brought against them.
  • Shortages of accommodation at state-run universities were highlighted last year by the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, which reported that in one case 38 students from the University of Zimbabwe were sharing a four-bedroom house in Harare’s Mount Pleasant suburb
  • Activists say that the flight of qualified lecturers at the height of Zimbabwe’s political and economic crises has left many faculties short-staffed, while the cash-strapped institutions don’t have the money to maintain key infrastructure like libraries and laboratories.

"Dzamara abduction troubles rights body, November 13" Zimbabwe Independent

  • The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) was set up in 2008 to investigate human rights abuses during the 2008 election. To this date, lack of funding continues to hinder its authority. Of the US $ 556,000 dollars allocated to the commission this year, only 221,000 was released.  Elasto Mugwadi , chairperson of the commission, says they need an annual budget of US$7,5 million.
  • Although the level of awareness on human rights is growing, political abuses are still common practice by the ruling ZANU party
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has been looking at a few recent cases of journalist gone missing with the police
  • No full US financial aid before major Zim reforms: Wharton, November 13, Zimbabwe Independent
  • Outgoing American ambassador Bruce Warthon told journalists at a meeting this week that president Barak Obama would only lift up economic sanctions in return for significant reforms
  • Wharton says real reforms in the country would not only benefit relations with the US but also relations with the FMI, thus opening new credits lines for the country
  • Harare currently plans to pay US$1,8 billion to international creditors by June next year in a bid to break its vicious debt cycle as well as securing a minimum of US$2 billion in new funding
  • Another way Zimbabwe has tried to offset sanctions from the West has been its most recent Look East policy, whereby it engaged with countries like China, Singapore and Malaysia 

2. Political Freedom
State-Owned Media

"Zimbabwe: Respect Party Constitution, Says Chombo" November 17, The Herald

  • Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Ignatius Chombo warned province party chiefs against passing votes of no confidence on party members without abiding to the rules of the party’s constitution¸
  • This call for prudence comes amidts increased suspensions and counter-suspensions of party members in ZANU-PF
  • Speaking at a conference on Sunday, ational political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere said ‘hose carrying out covert operations were wasting their time as the revolutionary party's focus was on improving the livelihoods of Zimbabweans’

"Zanu-PF remains united: VP Mnangagwa" November 18, The Herald

  • Vice-President Emmerson told legislators yesterday that reports of party infighting was fed by people with no understanding of the situation inside ZANU-PF
  • Answering questions over Grace Mugabe’s ongoing campaign, Vice-president Mnangagwa said he stood unstressed about her potential rival

"Time Zimbabwe exorcised itself of violence" November 13, NewsDays

  • Media reporting on violence is often guilty of redundancy
  • Politics is not about arguments, not squabbles
  • Both sides must participate in the construction of Zimbabwe’s relatively new political scene
  • "The ruling party and the government must take the initiative in spreading the message of peace and reconciliation.’’

"Mugabe faces fight over devolution" November 17, NewsDay

  • The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) threatened to take president Robert Mugabe’s head if he does not implement devolution, as mandated by the constitution
  • Harrison Mudzuri , chairman of  Masvingo province, says “We cannot wait anymore. The Constitution is very clear: Devolution is now long overdue. Come 2016, we will take Mugabe and his party head on. Masvingo’s development cannot continue to lag behind when devolution has been guaranteed in the Constitution,”
  • The current constitution, adopted in 2013, planned for an earlier devolution and allowed the development agenda of various provinces to be chosen locally
Independent

"Zimbabwe: Police Hunt Journalist Over Mugabe Offensive Story" November 15, The Standard

  • Police has started a ‘which hunt’ for a local journalist accused of helping Jeffrey Gettleman, the Kenya Bureau Chief for New York Times, who reportedly confirmed a fake story on statements made by President Robert Mugabe.
  • Gettleman is reported to have said that he only published the story after confirmed by his contact in Harare.
  • Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said it was deeply concerned about the continued onslaught on media practitioners and the use of force by the ZRP to thwart people's democratic rights.
  • "Indigenisation going ahead, only Mugabe can stop me, says Zhuwao"
  • Youth Minister Patrick Zhuwao declared only “my” boss President Robert Mugabe will stop “me” from implementing the indigenisation policy.
  • Zhuwao, who is also Robert Mugabe’s newphew, vowed to stand by his intention to pursue his full indigenization policy
  • “I have no problems; you can continue writing but one thing that you can be rest assured of is that you can write, or people can hold as many conferences as they want, but one thing that is going to happen is I am not going to stop and I am moving forward,” said Zhuwao.

 


Analysis

The ruling party Zanu-PF keeps insisting it stands united despite growing political unrest over G40 while the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZHRC) continues to blame ZANU-PF’s for its participation in the heavy-handed crackdown on an MDC opposition party meeting in South Harare. The government response so far tends to shift blame on zealous youth members of Zanu-PF. This comes at a time when ZHRC faces unprecedented financial problems.

In the meantime, concern grows over the media about recent report of missing journalists. The arrest of female students at a demonstration against poor living and learning conditions in State Universities has also sparked ZHRC’s outrage. 

Despite warning by opposition leaders that there would be mounting political defiance against ruling part ZANU-PF, vice president Emmerson holds that the party remains undivided. This comes at time of rising factional disputes among between the new generation of Zanu cadres and the older. Heal Zimbabwe Trust reported : ‘internal factional violence is likely to continue through to the ZANU PF December conference and beyond given the succession fights within the party’. The trust also expected more political divide among opposition movement MDC-T. 

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