The Abuja Agreement was signed on 8 September with the Government’s promise of the cessation of violent farm invasions, adherence to human rights standards, the rule of law, and transparency. An important test of the Government’s commitment to adherence of the Agreement would have been a marked reduction in gross human rights violations. As will be seen from this report, this commitment is seriously in doubt. The Human Rights Forum will shortly be issuing a separate report on breaches of the Abuja Agreement.
Violent farm invasions still continued to take place in the constituencies of Mwenezi, Harare, Hwedza, and Murehwa South throughout September. Adherence to the human rights clauses of the Abuja Agreement is an important measure of the Government’s commitment to the Agreement. These fresh farm invasions have also caused approximately 5,000 farm workers to be displaced from their homes and lose their only source of income. This increased the estimated total to 42,711 displacements since the start of this year.
There were attacks on the press in September as well: reporters and newspaper vendors both were assaulted by Zanu (PF) supporters and farm invaders. A Daily News vendor in Bulawayo was abducted and tortured, and vendors’ newspapers were confiscated. Farm invaders assaulted four Daily News journalists in Hwedza because they suspected them of being spies for the MDC and the British government.