Harassment of Zimbabwean Activists
By Samra Amir

August 2006
Being able to stand up for what you believe in is one of the things we take for granted. The words that tumble out of our mouth in defense of something are not weighed as heavily as they should be. Once one gets a chance to see how it feels not to be able to support an opinion, one can see it’s almost like having a tongue that is useless. This is what the condition is for the activists in the South African country of Zimbabwe.

In February 2007, the Zimbabwe police imposed a three-month ban on political rallies and protests in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. This ban ruled out any chance of civilians being able to stop actions that they feel are inhumane, or unjust. On March 11th, 2007, 50 activists protesting the ban at a public meeting were arrested by the Zimbabwean authorities. Many activists were of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

During the confusion of the arrests, police shot Gift Tandare, one of the activists. Tandare was the youth chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) in Harare.

As if arresting the activists in the middle of a protest wasn’t enough, many of the arrested protesters were severely beaten and tortured by the police. The men who were tortured included the president of MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and NCA Chairperson Dr. Lovemore Madhuku. The disrespect of these men of stature is an insult to the cause they stood for.

Many other people have sent complaints to Amnesty International about persisting harassment from the police. These people include political opposition and lawyers. Organizations like the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and NCA, and the women’s organization, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), also complained about harassment from police.

Amnesty International has written to Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, and the Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi, to take control of the situation, and “bring to an end the ongoing and grave human rights violations.”




Back to Article List