Human Rights Monitors (HRMs) trained by Heal Zimbabwe in all 10 provinces of the country have identified security sector reform as essential to the enjoyment of human rights in local communities.
This came out during a virtual human rights training refresher course for 250 HRMs organized by Heal Zimbabwe on May 31, 2022.
The objectives of the training were to assess the human rights situation in local communities as well as to share strategies for effective monitoring and reporting of human rights violations.
The training also aimed to sensitize communities on the protection of human rights using the Bill of Rights and also how communities can refer cases of human rights violations to independent commissions. such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
The enjoyment of human rights in local communities remains a pipe dream as institutions such as the police, who are mandated to uphold the law without fear or favor, turn a blind eye to cases of violence, especially those involving authors from the ruling Zanu PF party.
“During the political violence in 2008, police stations were no-go zones. In many cases, victims of political violence have been arrested when they reported acts of violence. To this day, we have people within their communities who have been tortured or whose loved ones have been killed and who have not come forward to the police because they were afraid of being arrested,” said one participant. .
Participants also pointed out that law enforcement officers did very little to arrest perpetrators of political violence during the May 2022 elections.
“The recent by-elections revealed in particular the police who did very little to arrest the perpetrators of violence in Kwekwe, which left dozens injured and one dead. The discourse on the elections in 2023 scares us here in Mudzi since most of the perpetrators of political violence are protected by the local police. Without reforming our security sector, political violence will continue to characterize our elections, even the 2023 elections,” a Mudzi participant expressed concern.
Other issues that emerged during the trainings included the inaccessibility of independent commissions such as the NPRC and ZHRC, which made it difficult for communities to report cases of human rights violations.
Human rights training is one of Heal Zimbabwe’s other initiatives aimed at empowering local communities to help protect themselves from human rights abuses and build peaceful communities.
Heal Zimbabwe uses various strategies to resolve conflicts in local communities.
One such way is through the use of Community Dialogues, an initiative for communities to collectively discuss and identify ways in which they can come up with solutions to their communities’ problems.-Cure Zimbabwe
The government must help local authorities
On Tuesday 24th May 2022, the Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) in collaboration with other informal economy associations, namely the Chamber Association of the Informal Economy of Zimbabwe, l The Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association and the Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) presented the findings of the Youth Employment and Informality Assessment to key stakeholders.
The six-month assessment was conducted with the support of the United States Agency for International Development Zimbabwe and stakeholders who attended the presentation included government departments, local government representatives, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, youth associations, development agencies, community organizations. , and various ministries.
Viset Executive Director Samuel Wadzai said the overall objectives of the research were to comprehensively map and provide a broad understanding of the informal economy in Zimbabwe; provide evidence of employment opportunities for young people in the informal economy, including people with disabilities; and develop tailored, evidence-based policy recommendations for various policy actors for the formalization of the informal economy.
DZT executive director Barbra Nyangairi said the research was conducted in all 10 provinces of the country, using a mixed methods approach. Among the respondents, 54% were women, the rest being men.
Most young traders turned out to be more entrepreneurs out of necessity who traded informally as a form of survival and a prime example of this were the street vendors.
The other category were opportunity entrepreneurs who were businessmen who formed entities to take advantage of business opportunities such as those related to waste and garbage collection and water distribution.
Artisans were also more likely to fall into this category and were also more likely to formalize their business.
The operating environment was found to be largely characterized by post-harvest losses for smallholder farmers, politicization of operating spaces, insufficient capital, lack of infrastructure, and insufficient supply of water and amenities. .
Violence was also a widespread feature both in the workspaces of law enforcement officers as well as in bribes and in the homes of spouses.
Funding for entities proved to be a major hurdle, with most relying on self-funding with the help of family and friends in the diaspora being the main contributors.
Young people with disabilities in the informal economy face many challenges, ranging from inaccessible public transport and buildings, to lack of education and capital, and societal stigma.
While many of them practice street vending due to the lack of barriers to entry, it remains precarious for them as they are not spared battles with police and municipal officials.
Operating spaces continue to be limited in supply and characterized by mainly political clientelism.
Mobile phone penetration and digital literacy have improved across the country, but the lack of smartphones and the cost of mobile data remain a barrier for actors in the rural informal economy.-View
The government must help local authorities
THE old adage that “when two elephants fight, the grass suffers” applies to fights between the state and urban local authorities.
The government always blames the councils for poor service, while the latter counter-blames the government, which has become a vicious circle.
What taxpayers pay to councils is only a drop in the ocean.
If you look at Harare City Council, the demand far exceeds the supply.
The dams feeding Harare were built to serve a few suburbs at the time.
Now we have lost count of the number of suburbs that have multiplied.
The government should subsidize the councils by paying the salaries of the workers and give the councils support budgets.
Councils cannot afford to pay workers with the money paid for fares, especially since the money is paid in local currency, which is rapidly losing value.
Councils are struggling to deliver services due to dry coffers.
The government owes the councils a lot of money, especially the Harare City Council, and is making no effort to pay.
Where do you expect councils to get money to treat water when it belongs to a lot of money including the government?
For big cities to regain their status, the government needs to put in place subsidies and introduce things like pre-paid water meters so councils get revenue.
Without this, councils will continue to be underfunded and will not grow.-Alexio Rashirai