A thousand words…

This image, captured at a market
stall at Gazaland, Highfields, shows
the struggles of those in the informal
sector as they attempted to operate
under lockdown . It also shows the
service and amenities delivery
challenges and the collapse and
neglect of public infrastructuire in the
urban areas

On 27 February 2021, two soldiers, who are part of
the troops operating in Chipinge, near the
Zimbabwean border with Mozambique, allegedly
assaulted a civilian to death.
The details of the killings were kept under wraps
and even as the body was taken to Chako Police
Station in the area, police kept a tight lid on what
transpired, in what is clearly meant to protect the
According to the information gathered by the
Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), the deceased
allegedly got into a misunderstanding with one of
the soldiers.
The soldier then teamed up with a colleague, and
while accusing the now deceased of being a
member of the rebel RENAMO army of
Mozambique, took turns to assault him until he
The matter is linked to the many allegations of
abuse of civilians and corrupt activities allegedly
being carried out by the soldiers operating in the
Elsewhere, on 1 February, two Beitbridge based
police officers sustained injuries after they were
allegedly assaulted by army commandos deployed
in the area.
The two police officers, Detective Sergeant Albert
Gonye and Detective Constable Kurai Marongere of
the Criminal Investigations Department were,
according to NewsDay, tracking suspects believed
to be stealing from haulage trucks when they were
attacked and detained by a group of soldiers.
These two incidents, although appearing to be
isolated, speak to the pattern observed in February,
where some soldiers deployed across the country
committed various human rights abuses targeting
mostly civilians.
The incidents also show the impunity with which
the abuses were carried out as the perpetrators
were not held to account and in both cases, the
authorities denied the incidents happened.
The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), contributed to
12.12 percent of perpetrators in February 2021, and
they come second after the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP), who contributed 59.66 percent.
For the ZRP, the majority of violations occurred
during the enforcement of lockdown measures,
which the President extended to the end of the
Since people were required to have exemption
letters in order to travel, and were supposed to
wear masks, police officers took advantage of the
fines, which were raised to as high as ZW$5,000 for
level 1 offences, to abuse citizens caught on the
wrong side of the law.
Soon after the announcement of the increase in
fines, police patrol activity targeting citizens
increased and ZPP documented an increase in
arbitrary and random arrests especially at
businesses centres across the country.
Just as with every other month before, February
was marred by increased density of human rights
violations, and increased vulnerability among
So, in addition to being on the receiving end of
state security agents’ penchant to violate human
rights, citizens spent yet another month under
lockdown, hungry and unable to open their
informal businesses in a clear case of a population
that remained smothered, oppressed and crushed!

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