This report shows that the political environment has largely been defined by acts of torture, intimidation and politically motivated violence against human rights defenders and other pressure groups seeking to express their views on the problems in Zimbabwe.
A particularly noteworthy event was related to the meeting of Heads of State and Government of the South African Development Community (SADC) that took place in Lusaka, Zambia on 16-17 August. A delegation with 62 members of the South African Peoples’ Solidarity Network (SAPSN) was travelling to the event, but eventually turned down by Zambian immigration authorities and subsequently handed over to the Zimbabwean police who detained and harassed 40 at the Chirundu Police Post.
Moreover, it was recorded that violence and intimidation tactics continued to be deployed by the police against members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) in various parts of the country. In Bulawayo, 6 members of WOZA were allegedly taken by force from their various homes by the police in vehicles bearing South African number plates to a secluded area 40 km away from Bulawayo. The police reportedly questioned the victims on the whereabouts of the WOZA leaders who they were failing to locate. The traumatised women were only released the following day. In another incident involving WOZA members in Masvingo, the police unlawfully arrested and detained 18 of them. It is alleged that six of the women were heavily brutalised and tortured by the police.