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If you can’t join them beat them! Report on post-election violence in Zimbabwe | Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

If you can’t join them beat them! Report on post-election violence in Zimbabwe

ZANU PF has refused to accept its electoral defeat and is now doing everything it feels necessary to cling to power. It has effectively declared war on the opposition and its supporters. Any re-run of the Presidential Election is not only likely to be a bloody affair, but the huge expenditure by ZANU PF in ensuring that it wins this election will be the final nail in the coffin of an already shattered economy. This will lead to even greater hardship for the long suffering people of Zimbabwe.

It is also pertinent to repeat here that this campaign of violence is planned, widespread and systematic, with numerous reports of army personnel, and state resources being utilised. There is no evidence that this violence is repudiated by the Zimbabwe government, and, hence, it is clear, as was pointed out recently by the Southern African Litigation Centre, that both the perpetrators and those bearing command responsibility are liable for prosecution for crimes against humanity.

This raises far more serious issues than the mere delay of results or unlawful recounting of the votes. Both the AU Constitutive Act and the SADC Treaty require action when member states are in breach. The AU Constitutive Act allows a challenge to sovereignty in case of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, whilst the SADC Treaty, in Article 6(2), requires that “SADC and Member States shall not discriminate against any person on grounds of gender, religion, political views, race, ethnic origin, culture, ill health, disability, or such other ground as may be determined by the Summit”. The legal frameworks that govern these two organizations suggest that both should be doing considerably more than wringing their hands over the non-release of results. Attention should be paid to the possibility that there has been a “coup by stealth” and gross human rights violations that accord with the definition of crimes against humanity are being perpetrated by the Zimbabwe government.

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