Violence continues after by-election in Kadoma Central

Violence continued in Kadoma Central (MIDLANDS PROVINCE) into December 2003 following the holding of a by-election over the weekend of 29-30 November 2003. Members of the opposition party, MDC, reported being abducted, threatened and assaulted while votes were being counted following the conduct of the election.

A number of incidents reflected a lack of political tolerance between supporters of the two contesting political parties with MDC supporters claiming that they were abducted to a Zanu PF base at a school in the area where they were beaten. TC, an MDC supporter, was reportedly hit with a stone on the forehead by ZANU PF supporters while at the vote-counting centre in Kadoma Central. He suffered severe injuries to the head.

Moreover, there have been unlawful arrests at several demonstrations. This hampers the efforts of civil society to enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of assembly.

The Human Rights Forum deplores the ongoing harassment of Zimbabwean citizens through frivolous arrests that are intended to prevent them from exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly. This trend has prevailed throughout the year 2003 with arrests initially being made under the pretext that the demonstrators had violated the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). However more often that not, as was the case with the arrest of 19 members of WOZA and journalists who were covering the story, those arrested are later released without charges being preferred against them or alternatively charges are dropped before plea.

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