The year 2020 was, by all accounts, a very difficult
year for Zimbabwe. The global COVID-19 pandemic
went beyond being just a health issue and the
Zimbabwean government conveniently used the
outbreak as an excuse to clamp down on human
rights in Zimbabwe.
For most of the year, state security agents were the
major perpetrators of human rights violations and
this was largely under the guise of the enforcement
of COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
As the year 2020 ground to its end in December,
the trend continued, with little prospects of a better
situation in 2021.
In December, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP),
recorded 181 cases of human rights violations and
the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), contributed to
27.57 percent of the perpetrators of these. The
ruling Zanu PF party contributed 22.61 percent
while the municipal police were at 16.54 percent
and the Zimbabwe National Army, 7.9 percent.
Machete gangs, who operate mostly in mining
areas, contributed 2.39 percent of the violations.
The affiliation of 15.26 percent of perpetrators was
In December, ZPP recorded 91 cases of
harassment and intimidation, and 31 cases of
discrimination during aid distribution, 21 cases of
assault, two killings and two cases of torture.
Harare topped the list with 44 incidents of human
rights violations, followed by Manicaland at 28,
Mashonaland Central at 26 and Mashonaland East,
During the month, ZPP recorded five cases of
political intra-party violence within Zanu PF and
three cases within the MDC-T and one case within
the MDC Alliance.
For the MDC-T and Zanu PF parties, this was
mainly due to the internal electoral processes
within the two political outfits.
In light of this, there is no doubt that Zimbabwe,
in 2020 degenerated into worsened autocracy,
characterized by covert and overt attacks on the
people’s civic and political rights.
As 2021 takes shape, the human rights situation in
Zimbabwe remains dire and the start of the year
provides a chance for renewed advocacy for the
return to constitutionalism and democracy so that
the citizens who have been silenced find their
The Zimbabwe Republic Police
of human rights violations,
followed by Zanu PF at
Residents of Warren Park D queue
for water at a public water point.
Urban areas have continued to
experience crippling shortages of
clean, safe and potable water. Pic
Credit. Ruvimbo Muchenje. Pindula