Geneva, 1st October 2004
as to the involvement in the shooting incident of Mr. Eliott Manyika6, Minister without Portfolio and ZANU-PF political commissar who had been seen by witnesses in the area, were dismissed by police. According to a report in “The Herald” of 30 March 2004, “police officers investigating the case said that … usually people who clashed did not know each other such that there were possibilities that MDC or ZANU-PF members could clash among themselves”. A senior police officer is quoted in the article as having said that the people involved had no “party regalia” and that “some cases of violence during elections time were stage-managed for observers to give the wrong impression to the outside world”. According to the MDC, Francis Chinozvina was with a group of MDC supporters who had protected the house of the MDC candidate, James Makore, from previous attacks (stoning in the days leading up to the election). A group of vehicles had approached Mr. Makore’s house on Sunday morning and, without warning, one of the vehicles’ occupants had fired at the young men. 14 other supporters were reportedly injured in the attack.
On Monday, 29 March 2004, Mr. Ben Tumbare-Mutasa, MDC MP for Seke and MDC election agent, was arrested during the by-election on charges of violating provisions of the Firearms Act by firing shots at ZANU-PF supporters in the Zengeza constituency. The delegation met Mr. Tumbare-Mutasa upon his release on Tuesday, 30 March. He said that after the shooting of Francis Chinozvina, he had talked to ZANU-PF officials and lodged a complaint with the constituency registrar. He and other MDC members subsequently went to the polling station to report to the MDC candidate, James Makore. On their return, the convoy which he was leading was attacked. The trucks in the rear were stoned. When he saw a gang arriving, armed with stones and sticks, he decided to fire three shots in the air to prevent an attack. This occurred at 10.30 a.m. Subsequently, he requested the senior local police officer to move into the area to provide security. Despite promises to the contrary, the officer took no action and it was consequently impossible for the MDC members to move into the polling station and surrounding area. Later that same day, police arrived to search his vehicle and, having done the search in the presence of his lawyer, five officers took him to his house which they searched without a warrant. Mr. Mutasa was then taken to a police station for interrogation. He was detained at 11 p.m. with 22 youth and released on bail of $ 50,000.-
As regards the general conduct of the election, Mr. Mutasa told the delegation that the access to the polling station was blocked by ZANU-PF supporters in groups of 50 or 100 who ordered anyone who wanted to accede to the polling station to show their ZANU-PF membership card. Voters who could not show the card were chased away. The MDC sent trucks to the polling station to attempt to disperse the crowd and clear a passage.
4.4.2.An example of electoral discourse
It should be noted that the winning ZANU-PF candidate, Mr. Christopher Chigumba was quoted by “The Herald”, on 30 March 2004 as saying that “the election had set the tone for the 2005 parliamentary polls” and that Zimbabweans now knew that “the British-sponsored opposition party” had nothing to offer to the people. “You have shown everybody that it’s ZANU-PF only in this country which can deliver goods to the people and we should bury the MDC once and for all in all elections”. Likewise the Governor of Harare is quoted as saying that this was the beginning of the end of the MDC. According to the newspaper, after the results were announced, some people shouted that MDC supporters should be “deported” from Zimbabwe and sent to Britain. The newspaper article quoted also another candidate, Mr. Chinogureyi from the ZANU Ndonga party as having called for tolerance and said that “there is no need to fight during elections, because whoever wins, we are all Zimbabweans”.
5.Remarks made by the authorities regarding international criticism of Zimbabwe politics
The Minster of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs described Zimbabwe as a country under siege because of the sanctions for which the MDC, as a “mouthpiece of the UK” had called. According to him, a purely bilateral issue had been turned into a multilateral issue and a colonial issue into a human rights one. He felt that now that the land reform was over and no longer an issue, human rights had been brought up as an issue instead. He affirmed that the ZANU-PF had never publicly authorised violence. Zimbabwe was not a perfect society, but “what was important were processes to adjudicate and this was what was happening”.
6 According to the paper “The perpetrators of gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe from February 2000 to March 2003”, produced for “Civil Society and Justice in Zimbabwe: A Symposium”, held by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Themba LeSizwe and the International Bar Association in Johannesburg in August 2003, Mr. Eliott Manyika, who is also an MP, was mentioned by victims several times as having participated in violence. Affidavits attest, moreover, that he accompanied militia in attacks on MDC supporters during the June 2003 strike.