By Professor Matodzi
Harare, March 27, 2016 – THE attack on hordes of war veterans attending an extra ordinary meeting in Harare last month has seen the ex-combatants become the latest single group of Zimbabweans to fall victim to rampant acts of rights violations in the hands of the state.
This is according to a Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) report on human rights violations which occurred in February this year.
The report says 47,9 per cent of the victims were people of unknown political affiliation while MDC-T supporters were highest among those targeted for rights violations, accounting for with 23.5 of the victims. The MDC-T, however, were also found among perpetrators, accounted for 6,6 per cent of the acts.
War veterans, who have for long been accused of waging a terror campaign against Zanu PF opponents, were this time found among the victims with 19.7 per cent of the violations while they were said to have in February accounted for 1 per cent of the acts.
“MDC-T had 23.5 percent of the incidences, while war vets made up 19.7 percent of total incidences. This is the first time that war vets have made up the victims ‘slot’. Also noticeable is that the new party ZimPF is already posting victims,” said ZPP.
The attack on war veterans follows their failed February 18 extra-ordinary meeting at the City Sports Centre in Harare which the President and war veterans patron Robert Mugabe later said he had not sanctioned.
The rally was blocked by police who used water cannons to disperse the group.
According to war veterans secretary general Victor Mutemadanda, about 30 war veterans suffered diarrhoea and vomiting ailments following the water cannon sprays incident.
It was believed those affected might have swallowed or inhaled the chemical water which came from the cannons.
“This marked a turning point in the relations between this group and their patron, President Mugabe, as well as with the police,” said the ZPP.
“The humiliating water cannon attacks by police on war veterans in February who since independence, had always been a revered and sowwhat untouchable population for Zanu PF, sognals a significant and unprecedented departure from ‘politics as usual’ for the ruling party.”
Following the skirmishes, President Mugabe has resolved to meet war veterans in Harare April 7 to iron out their differences.
“Most of the perpetrators of political violence for February were from Zanu-PF at 61.5 % of the incidences,” said ZPP.
“ZRP had 21.3 % of the perpetrators, while CIO also had incidences they perpetrated at 7.3%.
“Victims of violence for February were mainly in the 50-59 years age group; while the 40-49 years age group came second followed by the 30 -39.
“The highest number of perpetrators was found in the 50 – 59 years age group, followed by the 40-49 years age group. The 30-39 years age was next followed by those from 60 – 69 years of age. In comparison the majority of perpetrators for February were mostly in the 40 – 49 years old age group.”