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Zanu PF will ignore UN advice: analysts

Zanu PF will ignore UN advice: analysts

Sunday, 27 May 2012 11:31

ZANU PF is unlikely to implement most of the recommendations by the United 
Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Navanethem Pillay, because doing so would 
weaken the party’s hold on political power, analysts said last week.

If the party does institute any of the reforms, the analysts believe they 
would be cosmetic and not adequate for the holding of free and fair 
Zimbabwe has witnessed gross violation of human rights, including murder and 
torture dating back to the pre-independence era.

But it came as a surprise that government, accused of being the chief 
perpetrator of the violations, had invited Pillay for a five-day 
fact-finding mission last week.

Justice and Legal Affairs minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said the government 
invited her to prove that the country had nothing to hide. Political 
analyst, Dewa Mavhinga said the visit would keep the international spotlight 
on urgently-needed reforms such as a new constitution, confirmed in a 
referendum followed by credible, non-violent, free and fair elections.

He said it was likely that her recommendation for the operationalisation of 
the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), whose mandate focuses only on 
present and future abuses, would be acceptable to Zanu PF. The party has 
made it clear it does not want past violations to be investigated.
However, Mavhinga fears that the party would not change much as a result of 
the visit.

He said the party would instead attempt to twist and manipulate Pillay’s 
words, especially her call for the suspension of sanctions until elections 
and reforms outcomes were clear, to make it look like an affirmation that 
there were  no human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

“Zanu PF is likely to continue with its push for elections this year in the 
absence of credible reforms,” he said. “The party will undoubtedly refuse to 
amend the various pieces of draconian legislation that Pillay has pointed 
for urgent repeal. Whatever changes we are likely to see will be cosmetic 
rather than fundamental.”

Mavhinga said Pillay’s recommendation for securocrats to observe strict 
political neutrality would be ignored by the extremely partisan and 
politicised leadership of the military.

Media freedom activist, Gift Mambipiri said Pillay’s remarks confirmed that 
freedom of expression was a fundamental human right which the Government of 
National Unity was trampling upon.

“We acknowledge her good reading that the Broadcasting Authority and the 
Zimbabwe Media Commission fixation with control and emasculating the media 
is retrogressive and has no place in modern society,” he said.

Mambipiri said the call to repeal the Access to Information and Protection 
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and Broadcasting Services Act was welcome and the 
challenge was on the GNU to either “shape-up or be shipped out.”

Zim ignored Tibaijuka

Political commentator Blessing Vava said no significant changes should be 
expected, citing the disregard of the UN special envoy on human settlements 
Anna Tibaijuka damning 2005 report accusing the government of human rights 
abuses after Operation Murambatsvina, which displaced over 650 000 people 
after the destruction of  their homes and businesses.

“Nothing changed after Murambatsvina and we even witnessed worse abuses a 
few years later during the 2008 elections. Abuses will likely continue as we 
head for another election,” he said.

Social rights activist, Hopewell Gumbo predicted that Zanu PF would test the 
waters and continue to use violence as the party’s trump card.

Chinamasa slams ‘fiction’

Justice and Legal Affairs minister, Patrick Chinamasa said the government 
was sincere and would cooperate with the UN, as long as the international 
body was not influenced by outside forces.

He claimed that most of the reported cases of human rights abuses were 
fictitious. “We are not a perfect country,” Chinamasa sa-id. “We want our 
shortcomings to be pointed to us. Where there are violations, people must 
report to the police rather than wait to present dossiers which are 
anonymous and have no witnesses and identity of the victims.”

Some of the worst atrocities were committed by the colonial Ian Smith regime 
which massacred thousands of Zimbabweans in and outside the country.
Pillay said such large-scale killings in the 1980s or the 2008 election 
violence should never be swept under the carpet and suggested the setting up 
of a Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

But the Zanu PF government was also accused of killing thousands of people 
in an army crackdown during the infamous Gukurahundi in Midlands and 
Matabeleland province in the 1980’s.


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