Geneva, 1st October 2004
According to the police memorandum of 8 April 2004, the allegation that Ms. Masaiti was beaten by soldiers could not be substantiated which, according to them “implies that no report was made to this effect”.
1.8.3Closing of her constituency office
Thanks to UNDP funds, Ms. Masaiti was able to open a constituency office which, the delegation understood, was forcibly closed in December 2002 by ZANU-PF supporters and the area councillor. The owner of the new premises which she had found in January 2003 turned down the renting offer owing to pressure. The office was finally relocated to another building. However, the owner of the building was subsequently threatened with the result that the office was finally closed down in August 2003.
The delegation understood that Ms. Masaiti was arrested together with other women on the occasion of the Women for Love and Peace March on St. Valentine’s Day 2003 and released without charge.
In March 2003, ZANU-PF supporters came to her house threatening her, so that she and her five children had to relocate for two weeks. She did not report this incident to the police. She stated in this respect that supporters who had made reports to police were arrested.
Ms. Masaiti informed the delegation that she has brought suits against President Mugabe and four other ZANU-PF members in the USA. The cases were still pending.
1.9.1.Attack of May 2001
On 26 May 2001 after attending a constituency meeting, Mr. Bhebhe was approached by war veterans and ZANU-PF youth. They hit him on the head and when he fell to the ground, they beat him all over his body, leaving him for dead. He regained conscience in the evening and tried to return to Bulawayo. He was picked up by a vehicle which took him to a police station. He reported the incident and gave the names of the perpetrators. A police report was drawn up but, according to Mr. Bhebhe, only one of the perpetrators was briefly picked up and questioned. On 3 June 2001, after describing his beating at a rally at the White City Stadium, he was arrested under the Law and Order Maintenance Act for allegedly having said that President Mugabe should be removed forcibly. The matter was withdrawn before plea.
1.9.2.Attack of February 2002
Mr. Bhebhe described how it was difficult at the time to move into his constituency, especially after he had been falsely accused of giving a grenade to a youth which killed one person. However, on 6 February 2002, he and other MDC members, including Mr. Peter Nyoni, MP for Hwange East, decided to use a convoy to move into the constituency. On their way, they were stopped by roadblocks which they were able to remove, but later found themselves surrounded by armed ZANU-PF youths and supporters in CIO trucks, who started shooting. The tyres of all the vehicles were deflated by gunshots. Everyone was ordered out of the vehicles and told to lie on the ground. They were all beaten and then ordered back into the vehicles with the flat tyres and told to drive to the police station. There, they were again ordered to lie down and were beaten. Mr. Bhebhe and the others, more than 30 people, were then locked in a cell equipped for seven people. They were given no food, no water and no blankets. After two days, they were taken to Khami prison where they applied for bail. It was granted on a Monday afternoon, but the release took place only two days later. They were charged under the POSA with throwing stones and being in possession of dangerous weapons. In September 2003, the court dismissed the case for lack of evidence.
On 2 January 2003, Mr. Bhebhe was driving around with a poster that read “Hoot, enough is enough” (At the time, there were reportedly huge fuel queues countrywide). He was arrested the next day and was detained until his court appearance on 6 January 2003, when he was released without charge.