‘MDC-T can’t stop Zanu PF abuses’

NEW York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said the MDC-T lacks “real power” to institute a political agenda that can put an end to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

In a report “World Report 2011” released on Monday, the human rights watchdog  said almost two years into the joint rule of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC-T has failed to stop or reduce politically motivated prosecutions.

“Two years into Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government, President Robert Mugabe and the Zanu PF, have used violence and repression to continue to dominate government institutions and hamper meaningful human rights progress,” HRW said. “The former opposition party, the MDC, lacks real power to institute its political agenda and end human rights abuses.”

At a spirited rally in Harare shortly after being sworn in by his political rival in February 2009, Tsvangirai pledged to end the vicious cycle of political violence and human rights abuses.

Said Tsvangirai in 2009: “Political violence must end today…We can no longer afford brother against brother, because one happened to have a different political opinion.

“I can assure you that the culture of impunity and of violation of human rights must end, and it must end today.”

 But the HRW says the MDC has failed in that regard.

HRW  also blamed the inclusive government  for not investigating widespread abuses, including torture, beatings, and other ill-treatment allegedly committed by security forces, Zanu PF supporters, and officials against real and perceived supporters of the MDC-T.

Politically-motivated violence has flared up in the country especially in Harare, mainly targeting MDC-T supporters.

This past weekend, MDC-T claimed Zanu PF youths attacked their supporters in Budiriro, Mbare, Hatcliffe and Chitungwiza.

The human rights group said the Marange diamonds provided a “parallel source of revenue for Zanu PF and its repressive state apparatus”

 “Corruption is rife, and smuggling of diamonds by soldiers in the fields is prolific. The diamond revenues continue to benefit a few senior people in the government and their associates rather than the people of Zimbabwe,” observed HRW.

The HRW report also said soldiers continue to perpetrate abuses at the controversial diamond fields in Marange, including forced labour, beatings, and harassment, which Zimbabwe’s government has failed to investigate or prosecute.

But government has repeatedly denied the alleged plunder of the diamonds by the army and other security forces. It has also denied human rights abuses in Marange.

On the Kimberley Process, the report said MDC-T had “struggled to address state abuses in the diamond fields. Its mandate narrowly defines “blood diamonds” as those mined by abusive rebel groups, not abusive governments”

The rights group observed that the constitution-making outreach programme meetings were marked by violence and intimidation, mainly by Zanu PF supporters and war veterans allied to the former ruling party.  –– Staff writer.

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