Zimbabwe: Mugabe and Tsvangirai guilty of violent abuses?

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The international human rights organization Human Rights Watch says Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangirai, has no capacity to stop rampant human rights abuses in Zimbabwe as it “lacks real power to institute its political agenda.”

According to the rights group report released on Monday–headlined “World Report 2011”–MDC has failed to stop or reduce rampant abuses.

Reads part of the report, “The former opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, lacks real power to institute its political agenda and end human rights abuses.”

HRW blames the vicious cycle of violence on the former ruling party, ZANU-PF.

“Two years into Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government, President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), have used violence and repression to continue to dominate government institutions and hamper meaningful human rights progress,” it said.

Tsvangirai’s promises to stop all forms of violence once he came into government have been futile. And with MDC lacking real power to end violence committed by ZANU-PF, the human rights group said both parties are guilty.

It said the inclusive government “has not investigated widespread abuses, including killings, torture, beatings, and other ill-treatment committed by the army, ZANU-PF supporters, and officials against real and perceived supporters of the MDC.”

The report went on to document violent incidences that occurred last year countrywide, noting that incidents of politically related chaos and violence have continued to rock the country since the autocratic Mugabe announced his determination to hold elections this year.

Go For Broke

Since the beginning of the year, MDC activists have once again been targeted by ZANU-PF mobs carrying logs, stones and sometimes guns, as Mugabe’s party “go for broke” to try to reclaim lost ground from the 2008 electoral defeat.

A statement from the MDC said weekend violence left many of its party supporters injured in this fresh wave of violence sweeping Harare. ZANU-PF youths attacked MDC activists in Budiriro, Mbare, Hatcliffe and Chitungwiza.

This 21st annual World Report summarizes human rights conditions in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. It reflects extensive investigative work undertaken in 2010 by Human Rights Watch staff, usually in close partnership with domestic human rights activists.

The influential Human Rights Watch also took aim at the Jacob Zuma-led administration in South Africa for “failing to make full use of its leverage to ensure meaningful human rights improvements” in Zimbabwe.

“Despite visiting the country several times, President Jacob Zuma and his mediation team have failed to engage the power-sharing government on critical issues that include cessation of human rights abuses, institutional reform targeting constitutional and electoral processes, as well as security sector reform.”

The rights monitor said South Africa’s pro-human-rights constitution, stable government, democratic institutions, independent judiciary, and strong economy places it in a position of being a global human rights leader.

“However, government efforts to realize this potential at home have been inconsistent, and recent trends suggest possible constriction of civil and political rights. In addition, inadequate policies and poor implementation of good ones have slowed the realization of social and economic rights for many South Africans,” HRW said.

In the international arena, South Africa’s government is said to have refrained in recent years from condemning abuses in China, Sri Lanka, Iran, Burma, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, dashing hopes that it would be a reliable partner in promoting human rights.

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