The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum launched the special report ‘The New Deception: What has changed’ which critiques the record of the Mnangagwa government’s record in human rights observation. The report reflects on the promises of the return to constitutionalism and rule of law made President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 26 August 2018. Emmerson Mnangagwa was inaugurated as the second Executive President of Zimbabwe after Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was overthrown from power through a military coup. The Forum launched the report which captured the human rights situation in the “new dispensation” on 27 August 2019. Apart from launching the documentary, the Forum held an engaging discussion which was focused on the key highlights of the report such as the nature and distribution of violations witnessed since November 2017 to date. The thrust of the event was to stimulate conversation around the current human rights violations being witnessed in the country. The event also sought to respond to the question on everyone’s mind, Is this the Zimbabwe we all want?
The launch of the report was attended by stakeholders from civil society and the diplomatic community. In his opening remarks, Calvin Fambirai from Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights Calvin highlighted that exactly a year has passed since President Mnangagwa promised “a new Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe we all want.” He added that it is worthy for citizens to reflect on the progress which the “new dispensation” has made in delivering its promises. Research and Advocacy Unit’s Tony Reeler, who is the lead researcher on the paper explained that human rights violations had increased since November 2017. He added that the violations, particularly abductions are systematic in nature. He also emphasised on the deployment of the military in civilian affairs and the unconstitutionality of such deployments. Tony further explained the potential challenges and chaos relating to a nation with a huge youth bulge vis-à-vis a failing economy. On launching the report, the Forum’s Chairperson, Jestina Mukoko stressed the practical effects of the failed promises on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans which includes abductions, assaults and intimidation by members of the security forces especially the military. In his closing remarks, Chesterfield Samba, from GALZ reiterated the need for the government to uphold human rights as a precursor to the international re-engagement agenda. He added that for Zimbabwe to be open for business, respect for human dignity should be a precursor.
The Forum raised awareness on the current trends in the human rights situation in Zimbabwe in the new dispensation. The event provided a good platform for presenting facts about the new dispensation and its stance on human rights on the backdrop of the violent crackdown on protestors in January and in August 2019. The report also provided a platform for an honest evidence-based conversation on the human rights situation in the country.
Please download the full report here The New Deception_What has changed