In its various reports the Human Rights Forum documented the political violence that occurred in the pre-election period in Zimbabwe . The worst acts of violence included murders, rapes, serious assaults and destruction of houses and other property. These and other acts of political violence were aimed at intimidating voters and forcing them to vote in a certain way. They were also aimed at preventing certain political parties from campaigning.
Regrettably, at the time when these acts of violence were occurring far too little was done to prevent them and to bring to justice the perpetrators, together with those who were inciting such acts. This meant that the perpetrators were able to continue to distort the entire electoral process by preventing political campaigning by opposition party. Up to the present, few of the instigators and perpetrators of these acts of violence have been arrested. This is despite the fact that in at least some instances the alleged perpetrators are known.
Although long overdue, the arrest of Wilson Kufa Chitoro (“Biggie Chitoro”) on allegations of kidnapping and murder is a positive step in the direction of the re-assertion of the rule of law in Zimbabwe . Chitoro, however, is only one of many who are alleged to have perpetrated or incited acts of criminal violence during the pre-election period. Other war veterans and persons operating with them, and various party officicals are alleged to have carried out or instigated many acts of violence. These acts include the murder of two MDC organisers in Buhera, Mr Chiminya and Ms Mabika, and the murders of two commercial farms, Mr Stevens in Murewa and Mr Olds in Nyamandhlovu. It is hoped that investigations into all of these various cases will now be professionally pursued with all possible expedition.
Additionally, given the scale of political violence that occurred during the pre-election period, the Human Rights Forum calls for an independent commission of inquiry to be set up to carry out a full investigation into the causes of the political violence and the persons and agencies that were involved in organising and carrying out the violence.
In order that such political violence does not recur, no amnesty or immunity should be given to persons found to be responsible for the violence.