Heal Zimbabwe expresses concern over the manner in which the ZANU PF District Coordinating Committee exercise is being rolled out in rural communities. In the month of May 2021 alone, Heal Zimbabwe received verified reports where Traditional leaders (mostly village heads), teachers and School Development Committees (SDCs) have been forced to set up ZANU PF structures. The ongoing ZANU PF DCC restructuring exercise targets a total of five million voters by 2023.
In Gutu and Zaka, Village heads have been directed to convert village household registers into structures for ZANU PF .The same directive is being issued every Wednesday during DCC meetings. Other areas where this practice is rampant include Mutasa, Nyanga, Muzarabani, Maramba Pfungwe and Bikita. Heal Zimbabwe notes that forcing Traditional leaders to engage in partisan politics goes against the grain of Section 281 (2) (c) of the constitution that highlights that, “Traditional leaders must not further the interests of any political party or cause”. Added to this, such a practice also compromises the constitutional obligation of Traditional leaders to respect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of citizens in compliance with Section 281 (1) (a).In Gutu and Nyanga teachers at most schools together with SDCs have also been directed to set up ZANU PF structures at most schools. Those who have delayed establishing these structures have been threatened with dismissal and further action. While Heal Zimbabwe appreciates the importance of citizen participation in politics, forcing citizens to do so against their wish is a gross violation of their rights such as political rights that are exclusively provided for in Section 67 of the constitution.
In light of the above, Heal Zimbabwe implores political parties to respect human rights of citizens such as political rights. The issuing of threats such as denial of food aid or dismissal must not find expression in a society that has laws that respect and protect fundamental human rights and freedoms of citizens. Heal Zimbabwe has facilitated for affected communities to report cases of human rights violations to the police and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).