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Rights Update Volume 1
Zimbabwe Human Rights
October 10 2001
of law and order
use the Army in the maintenance of law and order when they kill, torture,
rape and injure innocent defenceless people of Zimbabwe?
document highlights cases of brutality perpetrated by the Army in the
course and scope of executing orders from the Government in the area of
maintenance of law and order. Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
seeks to lobby the Government, Parliament of Zimbabwe, Ministry of Defence
and Ministry of Justice to come up with policies barring the Army to maintain
law and order alongside the Zimbabwe Republic Police. ZimRights strongly
feels that the army is not the right institution to use in the maintenance
of law and order. This is due to gross human rights abuses perpetrated
by the Army, each time they are deployed in communities. Innocent people
are killed, injured and tortured and women are raped to mention a few
of the evils perpetrated by the Army. For the good of Zimbabweans, the
Army must not be used in the maintenance of law and order.
especially after the constitutional referendum in February 2000 and subsequently
after the 2000 Parliamentary elections, Zimbabwe has seen the emergence
of a strong opposition party and consolidation of a strong civic society,
government has increased the use of the army in maintaining law and order.
This development has caused a lot of suffering to innocent people. The
Army has a history of human rights abuses considering the horrors of the
1982 to 1987 atrocities. The 5th Brigade unleashed a reign of terror in
the Midlands and Matebeleland. Recently, as we write this document, the
Army was deployed in some rural areas that include Vumba Siamchembo area
in Gokwe North. The mission of the Army in the area is not known. To this
end, after weighing the catastrophes brought by the Army, it is suggested
that the Government should forthwith stop using the Army to maintain the
law of the land. This is the job of the Police. It is constitutionally
guaranteed that the duty of the Defence Forces comprising the Army and
Air force is to defend Zimbabwe. The existence of the Police Force in
Zimbabwe means that the Army must stop usurping the role of the Police
Force and vice-versa
effort has been made to cite cases in which the involvement of the Army
had been disastrous and counter productive. This adds to other cases of
Army Brutality experienced by Zimbabweans, like the Midlands and Matebeleland
Atrocities. In this case the Government sponsored the Army to kill people
of Zimbabwe. The Army and the Government has not apologized for killing
innocent defenceless people of Zimbabwe.
participation of the Army and Air force in the maintenance of law and
order has caused a lot of suffering on the innocent people of Zimbabwe.
It has tortured members of the public by,
- Assaulting them
- Killing them
- Forcing them to
eat raw meat and rotten tomatoes
- Beer poured on
- Forced to lie prostrate
on the ground whilst being beaten
- Pulling and uprooting
- Shooting innocent
- Raped women
- Guns and pistols
pointed on them
- Forced people to
wash their bodies using sewerage and muddy water
- Forced themselves
into shops and assaulting shopkeepers.
following are the cases that took place in some parts of Zimbabwe, like
the Midlands and Harare Region. The Army wrongfully and unlawfully assaulted
members of the public for no just cause.
Midlands Region TOP
effort has been made to highlight recent cases that took place in Redcliff
and KweKwe. It tortured and killed people in the Midlands. The first episode
took place before the 2000 Parliamentary elections. Soldiers were deployed
in the area resulting in a lot of innocent people being beaten up using
clenched fists, butt of the gun, claps, forced to chant political slogans,
forced to lie prostrate to the ground, forced to eat raw meat, forced
to bath using sewerage water and many other acts of torture. This report
zeros down on two latest encounters that took place in March and August
workers were shot dead and several others escaped with injuries when an
army officer opened fire at the defenceless striking ZISCOSTEEL workers
on Wednesday the 8th day of August 2001. Armed soldiers arrived at ZISCOSTEEL
at around 4:30pm and fired three warning shots, which resulted in workers
scurrying for cover inside the ZISCOSTEEL Plant. The soldiers started
assaulting workers including some supervisors who were working at the
Coke Ovens and Blast Furnace No 4.
following people were killed:
(a) Never Daniel
the death of the two Ziscosteel workers, their families demanded compensation
before burial. The Midlands Observer of Friday the 24th of August 2001
carried the following story, written by Mr Majiga Majiga,
grieved families of the two Ziscosteel employees who were shot dead 16
days ago when workers staged sit-in strike, are demanding compensation
before they could bury their relatives. On the visit to both families,
mourners had already dispersed sighting the shortage of food since the
bereaved families had no money to meet funeral expenses.
killing the people the Government did not offer any form of assistance.
In light of the above quotation the families are suffering because they
did not have money to cater for funeral expenses. The Government must
be responsible for everything since they killed the two said people. This
includes Compensation to the families for loss of support and payment
of funeral expenses.
case encapsulates what transpired in Redcliff on the 24th and the 31st
day of March 2001 after deployment of the Zimbabwe National Army (Z.N.A)
soldiers in Torwood and Rutendo High Density suburbs. Members of the police
force and some war veterans accompanied the army.
Human Rights Association (ZimRights) visited the scene of the incident
and interviewed some people who either witnessed or were assaulted by
the Army. It is therefore from the basis of the investigations made that
this incident is reported.
interviews revealed that people were, assaulted, forced to eat raw meat,
beer poured on them, forced to lie prostrate to the ground, pulling and
uprooting of hair, guns and pistols pointed on them, forced to wash their
bodies using sewerage and muddy water and forced to pay fines. The soldiers
further forced themselves into shops and assaulted shopkeepers. People
were beaten up indiscriminately and in cold blood. What was surprising
was that the soldiers openly castigated the people of Rutendo for supporting
soldiers were in uniform, armed with guns and driving a 4 X 4 STEYR vehicle.
In Torwood they were estimated to be around 16 in number. It is believed
that the soldiers responsible for the brutalities came from a near by
Pondoloza Air Base situate close to Red-Cliff and adjacent to Zimbeef.
Rutendo, it is alleged that MDC youths had a party at a beer hall. The
soldiers were alerted and chaos began. They besieged a beer garden and
locked all the gates and moved in, beating up people at random. The people
were assaulted using logs, barrels of guns, fists and kicks. They were
forced to eat raw meat and to drink sewerage water. This took place on
the 24th of March 2001.
the 30th day of March 2001, the soldiers ambushed people at Mutegude Night
Club at around 7:00pm and started beating them up using weapons. It is
believed one person was found dead at a bridge close to Rutendo. It is
alleged that the soldiers killed the person and dumped him there.
army force marched all the casualties into an army truck and dumped them
along Gweru Road close to 3km from Redcliff turn-off. These were critically
injured and were left for the dead.
the 31st day of March 2001, the soldiers moved door-to-door searching
for Movement for Democratic Change members. The soldiers moved with well-known
war veterans in the area.
of the brutalities
- Mr Enos Zvenyika.
He was assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping Centre. He was
on his way home from the bar where he had gone for a Burial Society
meeting. He met the soldiers and was ordered to lie face down to the
ground before the beatings. They pulled out his dreads together with
flesh. He sustained a swollen head, cuts on the face and bruises all
over the body. The matter was reported at Torwood Police Post on 24
March 2001 and was investigated by Constable Chimuka whose Force Number
- Mr. Isaac Chikuni.
He was assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping Centre. Mr Chikuni
was assaulted by the Army and was seriously injured. The soldiers just
met him and he was assaulted for no apparent reason.
- Mr. Shadreck
Nyirongo. He was assaulted on the 31st of March 2001 at his home.
He was beaten up and left for the dead by soldiers. The assault took
place on the 31st day of March 2001 around 1200 mid-night. The soldiers
who were approximately 30 in number invaded his home during the night.
They were accompanied by the then Officer In Charge of Redcliff Inspector
Chioko and some unknown people in casual wear. They besieged his home
to make sure that he does not run away. They bulldozed their way in
the house by breaking the door and started hitting his landlord Mr Emmanuel
and broke the inside door and managed to get in to the room where Mr
Nyirongo was sleeping. They never asked him anything but started beating
him up taking turns. They used whips, Iron rods, kicks, clenched fists,
and butt of the gun. They unpacked his suitcase and asked for his MDC
membership card. They could not find it and proceeded to take $2000
cash citing that it is MDC's money.
They hit him
continually until he grew unconscious. They poured cold water on him.
The attack took place when he was naked. After the beatings, the soldiers
then handed him over to the officer in charge of Redcliff Police Station
Inspector Chioko who was present at the scene of the attack. There were
three cars, a defender (for the police), and a steyr (for the army)
and another pick-up truck supposedly for the war veterans and ZANU PF
supporters. It is further alleged that the war veterans and ZANU PF
supporters had a list of people believed to be from MDC.
took him to Redcliff Police Station where they drove him to KweKwe General
Hospital for medication. The Hospital released him on the 2nd of April
2001 but he was still in pain.
- Mr. Charles
Dzimbanhete. He was assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping
Centre. He was beaten up by four soldiers using clenched fists, kicks
and using the barrel of the gun. They met him and assaulted him for
putting on a T/Shirt written1. He survived by running away. He reported
the matter to the police but they refused to assist him citing that
the matter needed to be attended to by the Officer In Charge of Redcliff
himself. As a result client did not receive medical attention.
- Cutman Supermarket
employees were assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping Centre.
The soldiers forcefully entered CUTMAN Supermarket and started beating
up two shop attendants. The first victim assaulted was a till-operator
and the second one a butcher-block man. The till operator was beaten
up for refusing to give one of the soldiers a cigarette. The matter
was reported at Torwood Police Post. The Police Post referred the workers
- Mr. Zivanai
Rera was assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping Centre at
around 1700 hours. The soldiers did not give him the reasons why they
were assaulting him. By reason of the injuries, he could not go to work
from the date of assault to the 6th day of April 2001. The matter was
reported at Redcliff Police Post but nothing has been done so far.
- Mr. Mugwisi,
Mr. Phiri, Mr Chipa, Mr. Tafara and Mhuri
were assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping Centre. They were
assaulted using the butt of the gun and clenched fists.
- Mr Chakanetsa
was assaulted on the 31st of March 2001 at Rutendo Shopping Centre.
He was send by his parents to the shops to buy food. On his way he met
soldiers and was hit using clenched fists on the cheek and he sustained
a swollen cheek and face. He had not reported the matter to the Police
in fear of the soldiers. The soldiers warned him not to report the matter
- Time Moyo
was assaulted on the 31st of March 2001 at Rutendo Shopping Centre.
He was battered, blind folded, ferried and dumped for the dead along
Gweru Road close to Tore River. A motorist who noticed him and took
him to hospital saved him.
- Edward Nyirongo
was assaulted on the 31st of March 2001 at Rutendo Shopping Centre.
He sustained injuries in form of bruises all over the body and face.
He was hit on the cheek and hand using a log. He did not report the
matter to the police since the police accompanied the soldiers.
- Mr Gwatiringa
was assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping Centre. He was at
Rutendo Beer-garden when a group of soldiers and a police officer approached
him. The soldiers asked him on why he was drinking beer. One soldier
took off his hat and grabbed him by the collar. They took his T/Shirt
and tore it. The soldiers then ordered him to lie prostrate to the ground.
He was kicked, whipped, clapped and hit using butt of the gun and also
hit using clenched fists. They coerced him to lie in stagnant water
and to wash his face using muddy water. Mr Nzveda was forced to eat
raw meat and rotten tomatoes. The soldiers and the police officer took
him and many others to Redcliff Police Station were he was detained
and forced to pay a fine of $100 to enable him to be released. The condition
was that he was not going to be released unless he pays a fine. By reason
thereof, he paid the fine and was released. Mr Nzveda wants refund of
the fine that he paid. It looks like he paid for being beaten up.
was assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping Centre. He says that
a War Veteran known as Muchazviona and another man known to him as Roy
who accompanied the soldiers pointed at him and the soldiers quickly
started assaulting him. These war veterans asked the army to beat him,
which they did. It is not clear why the war veterans accompanied the
- Enock Ngwenya
was assaulted on 24 March 2001 at Torwood Shopping Centre. He was assaulted
by a group of soldiers armed with AK rifles. He sustained a lot of injuries
because of the assaults.
Harare Region TOP
Harare the army caused havoc in most of the high and medium density suburbs.
Zimbabwe is not going through war and this should be the basis of challenging
the involvement of the army. There is real need for policy makers to put
pressure on the relevant ministries and authorities to come up with laws
that would bar the use of army in maintenance of law and order.
of the brutalities
Da Costa. Age 32yrs of Arcadia on October 10, 2000 sustained serious
injuries and was sent for hospitalization by the police. His case number
is RRB 539286.
- Admire Madyira.
Age 25yrs of Glenview on October 10, 2000 sustained injuries all over
his body and was hospitalised after making a report at Glenview Police
Station. His case number is RRB D587757.
- Joseph Muturukwa.
Age 30yrs of Glenview on October 18, 2000 was attacked around 20:29hrs
whilst watching television at home. He was beaten by button sticks,
sjamboks, boots and bare hands. He sustained serious injuries and was
treated using his medical aid cover.
- Mbizvo Tendayi
Ruzvidzo. Age 37yrs of Kambuzuma on October 18, 2000 was beaten
using button sticks, and sjamboks. He sustained injuries all over his
body. When he came to make a report to ZimRights, his wounds were open
- Wendy Chiwara.
Age 23 of New Marimba on October 10,2000 was attacked by button sticks,
sjamboks, and sticks which they were carrying. She sustained injuries
and a torn dress. She got home and was taken to the Doctor by her parents.
- Misheck Nyamupangedengu.
Age 21yrs of Glenview on October 10, 2000 sustained serious injuries
all over his body. He made a report to the local police and was taken
to hospital. His RRB No. is OB7636/00
- Lloyd Chikede
of Old Tafara, assaulted: sustained broken nose-treated at the Avenues
Clinic, June 30, 2000 Perpetrators: soldiers stationed at nearby temporary
- Due Mugota
of Mufakose, July 3, 2000 at Supreme Bottle Store, Mbare. Assaulted
by soldier and officer in support unit uniform: sustained bruises on
back, afraid to return to police because officers were present during
- Teddy Nyikadzino
of Epworth - assaulted by soldiers who entered Farai Bar and beat patrons
reported to police; no assistance given. Dombo Police Camp (First Report)
First Street Caravan Police (second report) Perpetrators: a unit of
soldiers; July 10, 2000 CR #: not issued.
are many other army brutality victims besides the above quoted from Midlands
and Harare. In light of the above, we can deduce that the conduct of the
Army is unacceptable. The Army violates human rights of the people of
has also been observed that the Police Force do not investigate human
rights abuses perpetrated by the Army. They are not keen to do so for
4. Recommendations TOP
to the above findings the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
gives the following recommendations that need to be taken seriously and
adopted by legislators, the Army and the Government. As a Human Rights
Watch-dog we strongly recommend the following:
- Amend all legislations
and Government Policies that authorize the army to maintain law and
order. The Army must not or at all be allowed to interfere or usurp
the role of the Police Force in the Maintenance of law and order. In
the cases mentioned above the police monitored the situation in Redcliff
but never at any time committed brutalities tantamount to violations
committed by the army. The two Departments (police and army) must work
independently of each other and not to interfere with each other's roles.
- The Minister of
Defence must issue out orders to senior Army officials not to maintain
law and order since they are not trained to do so but are simply trained
to kill in a war situation. Zimbabwe is not in a war.
- The soldiers who
killed people in Redcliff and at any place in Zimbabwe must be punished
and such punishment must be made public to the people of Zimbabwe. In
the same vein, the senior Army officers who gave such orders must be
exposed and be punished under the Law of Zimbabwe.
- The soldiers should
not mingle with politics. This recommendation is made because some members
of the army openly revealed their political affiliations during the
pandemonium and forced some people to surrender their membership cards.
Such matters need to be investigated fully and the officers must be
forced to quit the Defence Forces and join politics if they are keen
to do so. It is recommended that all the soldiers implicated in politics
need to be expelled from the Defence Forces or be severely punished.
- The Army must adhere
to Human Rights Principles enshrined in human rights instruments, like
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human
and Peoples Rights (Banjul Charter) and other relevant Human Rights
- The Zimbabwe Republic
Police and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
must make sure that the soldiers who perpetrated the abuses together
with all those who gave such orders are prosecuted. There is need to
get feedback on what became of cases reported to the police.
- The Government
needs to apologise to the people of Zimbabwe who suffered and died because
of the assaults and shootings from the army.
- Employ more Police
Officers to beef up the Police Force if the Army is intervening because
of shortage of staff within the Police Force.
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