CL/175/11(a)-R.2- 49 -
Geneva, 1st October 2004
command post, to organise the deployment of the MDC polling agents. Permission was given by the officer commanding Manicaland Province and the local police station was informed accordingly. When Ms. Masaiti arrived at the command post for the meeting, she was confronted by soldiers who arrested her driver and told her that the meeting was illegal. She realised that the meeting had already been broken up and was informed that a group of soldiers in the company of war veteran George Mashya and a police officer had arrived earlier and taken the 137 polling agents to Ruda police station. She asked to be taken to the station as well where she found that it was manned by soldiers and that all polling agents had been arrested. She was pushed into the charge office and three soldiers punched and kicked her and beat her with rifle butts. Her attackers accused her of educating people on their political rights and advising the Mutasa people to vote for the MDC. She was released after Mr. Kavhura had told the soldiers that she had not been at the command post when the polling agents met. As to the polling agents, some of them were released after the election only and others late in the evening the same day, which made their deployment very difficult. As a result, a large number of polling stations were unmanned by MDC polling agents. Ms. Masaiti went around various polling stations on Saturday, but was in pain and had to be hospitalised. The delegation was provided with copies of two medical reports attesting the injuries she sustained. Ms. Masaiti lodged a complaint with Mutare police station, but no action has been taken to date.
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”.
No report was made to this effect. Evelyn Masaiti should state the name of the station to which she made the report.
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.Mr. Abednico Bhebhe, MP for Nkayi
1.9.1.Attack of May 2001
On 26 May 2001 after attending a constituency meeting, war veterans and ZANU-PF youth approached Mr. Bhebhe. 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.
Charge:Contravening Section 44(1)(E) of the Law and Order Maintenance Act Chapter 11:07 “Utter a statement that promotes feelings of hostility to or expose to ridicule or disesteem the community