By Zimbabweans Living in Botswana
Summary: Post Election Violence 29 March 2008
Post 29 March 2008 Zimbabwe has seen unprecedented violence since Gukuruhundi in the early 1980’s. The violence was country wide, and involved both urban and rural communities. It was systematic, as repeated in narrative after narrative, “I was taken because my name was on a list, and I was beaten because of my involvement or my relative’s involvement with the MDC T”. It was organised and supported by the Zimbabwe National Army as evidenced by the number of ZNA perpetrators, and executed by ZANU PF youth, supporters and war veterans. Victims were not protected by the police, in more than 80% of cases the police initially refused to take statements from the victims. 90% of all deaths and people seeking medical assistance are active members of the MDC T, and form part of the organising structures of the party. Most of the victims were not only assaulted, but displaced and had property destroyed and looted. There are records of 880 homesteads being burned to the ground.
192 people have been verified as being murdered, often after abduction, and the bodies dumped in other areas, only being found after several weeks. There are credible witness reports of 18 bodies being found in one dam in Mashonaland East, and several bodies in other dams in the province and other provinces. 2 victims give reports at attempted disposal in dams, after severe assaults, when the assailants presumed them dead.
There are dozens of missing activists; some disappeared since May 2008, with police refusing to take reports of their disappearance. In the most recent abduction of 15 key MDC party members and one 2 year old child in Mashonaland West, despite three High Court orders, they remain unaccounted for, and there is increasing concern that they have been murdered. During the arrest, police siezed property, computers etc, from the home of MDC’s national official Concilia Chinanzvavana. They are alleged to be among 12 MDC activists who are said to have received military training in Botswana, the allegations have since proved to be false.
Over 6000 people, including 10% under the age of 12, and 15% over the age of 60 have sought medical treatment countrywide. Of particular note is that 176 people were injured in the period 27 June to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the 20 July 2008, and that since then 123 people have been targeted and assaulted. Previously injured people are giving credible reports that their names are still on targeted lists, and that in the next round of violence they will be killed.
Of particular note is that over 100 victims who were injured before the 27 June presidential election were delayed in seeking treatment for up to three months, and several of these had serious injuries including fractures.
15th September Agreement
We the Zimbabwean citizens living in Botswana are greatly concerned by the continued non-implementation of the 15th September agreement reached by between Zanu (PF) and the MDC. The non-implementation the above agreement that could have ushered a New government which could have brought an end to the current political paralysis affecting service delivery such as health, education, and food has remained our major concern.
We are reliably informed that Robert Mugabe and his civilian military junta are not committed to a genuine power sharing agreement as expressed by his unilateral grabing of key ministry such Home Affairs, Defence, Intelligents, Information and Publicity. For many years, Mugabe has been at the fore front of abusing these particular Ministries to suppress the will of the Zimbabwe People through vote rigging, arbitrary arrests, misinformation, torture and rape. This systematic abuse of power has seen many Zimbabwean going into exile to neighbouring countries such as South Africa; Botswana, Zambia etc. to seek political and economic asylum. Currently an estimated one million economically displaced people are living and working in Botswana running away from unprecedented unemployment levels in Zimbabwe resulting from the economic meltdown.
Current Health Crisis
The health system in Zimbabwe has been under severe strain for the past few years, but in recent weeks has collapsed completely. The main referral hospitals country-wide are closed or barely functioning, with skeleton staff and no drugs. The main government maternity hospital in Harare closed three weeks ago, leaving no method of delivery for all women requiring assisted or operative delivery. There has been a 3 fold increase in brain damage of children in the past three years, indicating the tragedy of the failing health system.
Anti-retroviral and anti-TB drugs are only intermittently available, posing a serious health threat to the region.
However, the greatest health threat is the lack of delivery of regular clean water to the cities and high density suburbs, resulting in unsafe sanitation, and shallow unprotected wells providing limited water to the communities. Diarrhoeal disease has increased significantly, and now cholera is established country wide. 8887 cases have been documented and 366 deaths, giving a death rate of 4%. Cholera death rates in well controlled epidemics should not exceed 1%. The death rates in some areas have reached as high as 20%.
Cholera is now being reported in the Harare Central Prison, with 7 known deaths. The prisoners are not yet being taken for treatment, so the death rate in these institutions may be catastrophic, as the health of the prisoners is already compromised due to severe malnutrition. Some penal institutions have been releasing prisoners due to an inability to provide food, and there are credible reports of up to 20 nutrition related deaths per day.
Appeal To Trade Union Leaders
We, Zimbabweans living and working in Botswana, appeal to SATUCC and its affiliate trade unions to unreservedly condemn the Mugabe regime and its military junta for its intransigence, which threatens to derail the ongoing dialogue process.
We urgently appeal to SATUCC to urge the parties to the agreement to urgently enact constoitution amendment No 19 and the resolution of all other outstanding issues in order to achieve equitable and sustainable all inclusive power sharing.
We further appeal to SATUCC and its affliate Unions to condemn the continued acts of violence and abductions that are being pertrated against innocent civillians in pursuit of parochial goals.
We further more appeal to SATUCC and its affiliates to use their influence and demand unfettered access in both the distribution of aid and assessment of the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. In this regard we view that the action of the regime in Harare of barring the team of elders who were genuinely concerned about the suffering of the generality of Zimbabweans be equally unreservedly condemned.
The shameful action of the Mugabe regime is a clear contempt of the wisdom of such eminent African leaders such as Mr. Mandela, the former President of South Africa who is a founder of the Elders group.
We, Zimbabweans working in Botswana, have always viewed SATUCC and its affiliate unions as the voice of the voiceless in the SADC region and as such it is our strong belief that the leaders will use their collective power and wisdom to highlight the suffering of the Zimbabwean masses and urge their respective governments to condemn the Mugabe regime for having ruined a once prosperous economy.