8 March 2011

Zimbabwe: MDC Accused of Not Doing More to End Political Violence

Photo: Sokwanele-Zimbabwe
Protests against political violence.

The MDC has been accused of not doing more as part of the unity government, to end political violence and seek justice for violence victims in Zimbabwe.

In a report by Human Rights Watch, 'Perpetual Fear: Impunity and Cycles of Violence in Zimbabwe', the MDC is accused of "prioritising" the survival of the unity government, above all else.

"The MDC has not forcefully insisted on justice and accountability for human rights abuses, nor has it attempted to bring the perpetrators of those abuses to book," the report reads.

The report's author, senior Human Rights Watch researcher Tiseke Kasambala, told SW Radio Africa's Diaspora Diaries programme that the MDC clearly are not equal partners in the unity government. But she said it was "disappointing that they appear to have swept issues of retributive justice under the rug."

Kasambala's reports details the stories of many victims of the 2008 political violence who are still waiting for some form of justice, with no sign of any investigation into the brutal killings and torture of MDC supporters. Many of these victims have been left physically and emotionally damaged, with some living in South Africa, choosing poverty there over life in Zimbabwe.

Kasambala explained how one of the victims, whose parents were murdered by known ZANU PF thugs during the 2008 election period, described living in "perpetual fear because the perpetrators of the violence and murder live next door and are walking free."

"The power-sharing government should take the lead in ending abuses and impunity by putting in place mechanisms to ensure that those who have committed abuses in the past and those who continue to do so, are held to account for their crimes," Kasambala said.

She added that if the impunity is allowed to continue "we will likely see a repeat of this level of violence in future elections."

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