Inter-party violence continued to prevail throughout April 2004 and in addition disturbing incidents of intra-party political violence were also recorded in St Mary’s. Incidents of political violence also continue to be reported in areas and at times when there are no elections or by-elections being held or immediately pending.
In Shurugwi (MIDLANDS PROVINCE) IM, a MDC supporter, reported that Daniel Nyevera and other ZANU PF supporters closed down her shop because she previously contested for the position of Councillor on a MDC ticket. They are said to be visiting her home, threatening her and her children with death. MM claims that ZANU PF supporters displaced him from Shurugwi on allegations of being a MDC activist. He alleges that he was also ordered to join the National Youth Service Training program and was threatened with death when he refused to do so. An environment prevails in Zimbabwe in which political violence has seemingly become a “normal” way of life.
In a display of unwarranted excessive use of force, LTC, a former General Secretary of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) and a human rights activist was reportedly arrested and severely assaulted by police officers at Mt Pleasant Hall in Harare Central (HARARE PROVINCE), where he had gone to give a speech at the Education Rights Forum. LTC was reportedly struck in the face with open palms and clenched fists, and kicked in the back. The police officers are then said to have forced LTC into the Hall where other officers and security guards were waiting.
While it is acknowledged that law enforcement agents may in certain instances find it necessary to resort to the use of a reasonable level of force in the exercise of their duties, the Human Rights Forum condemns the use of excessive force that is habitually used by officers of the ZRP when dispersing and arresting members of civil society gathered at meetings or participating in demonstrations. None of the force used in the arrest of LTC, as described above, was reasonable or necessary. We urge the police to desist from excessive use of force when making arrests and dispersing gatherings and to adhere to the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
There is a number of other incidents documented in the report.