ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe has failed to evoke any meaningful human rights reforms and instead unleashed a reign of terror on those who dared question his misrule, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has shown.
The hard-hitting report chronicled several human rights abuses which were perpetrated towards the end of 2014 right through the preceding year. It noted that there was no progress towards justice for past human rights violations and political violence.
The HRW also accused Mugabe of consolidating his grip on power by kicking out “reformist” former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
“She was replaced with two co-Vice-Presidents [Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko]. Both are implicated in serious past human rights abuses,” part of the report read.
The government has faced severe socio-economic challenges, but is not investing in provision of public services such as water, education, health, and sanitation.
The HRW also said those who criticised Mugabe or his government, including human rights defenders, civil society activists, political opponents, and outspoken street vendors, were harassed, threatened, or arbitrarily arrested by police and State security agents.
A pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara was allegedly abducted by unknown people in March last year after holding a solo protest, dubbed Occupy Africa Unity Square, where he piled pressure on Mugabe to resign.
The HRW also berated the government for ignoring the plight of the 20 000 villagers displaced by the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam flooding in February 2014.
According to the governmental Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), the flooding “was not natural, but [a] man-made disaster” and could have been avoided.