Zimbabwean citizens’ rights to assemble and associate freely with other persons and in particular to form or belong to political parties of their choice continues to be violated. Throughout July, victimisation of leaders and members of the opposition party persisted with politically motivated human rights violations during the month mainly related to campaigns being undertaken in preparation for the 2005 General Election. Events that occurred in Mvurwi (MAZOWE WEST constituency) and incidents reported in other parts of the country demonstrated the absence of a level electoral playing-field within the country 8 months ahead of the March 2005 election.
There have been several reports from Movement for Democratic Change supporters that they were being victimised. These include the leadership and their vicinity as well as supporters in the provinces.
AGM, a teacher at Nyambiri School, Seke Constituency (MASHONALAND EAST province) was reportedly assaulted by ZANU PF supporters led by the ZANU PF District Chairman. He was also allegedly threatened with death and accused of supporting the MDC. The ZANU PF District Chairman reportedly assaulted AGM in the stomach and told him that he was no longer welcome in the area. The beatings allegedly lasted for approximately 30 minutes during which time the victim lost consciousness. AGM has since fled the area out of fear.
The Human Rights Forum condemns violence perpetrated against teachers in rural communities, particularly ahead of the March 2005 Parliamentary Election. Such incidents have been documented in isolation and with increasingly frequency in association with election campaigns. Teachers have subsequently fled from their schools seeking refuge in urban centres.