By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, August 19, 2016 – THE Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) has condemned continued police brutality against peaceful demonstrators saying this was gross violation of human rights.
In a statement, ZCA director Useni Sibanda further warned this could trigger civil unrest in an already volatile political situation in the country.
Police have been using indiscriminate force to deal with protesters since a campaign against President Robert Mugabe’s leadership was launched by #ThisFlag leader Evan Mawarire, Tajamuka, Stern Zvorwadza’s National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe and other civic groups.
“The Constitution provides in Chapter 4, Section 59 that every person has a right to peacefully demonstrate and present petitions. The police continue to violate these citizens’ rights in the most brutal manner that is unacceptable,” Sibanda said.
“It seems that the government, instead of responding to the citizens’ genuine grievances and petitions, has decided to respond through brutal force and harassment of people,” he added.
Sibanda said ZCA was concerned that the high handed manner with which police have handled the protests could instigate more violence from the public.
“This has to stop before further damage is inflicted. The pains and cries of the people which are due to deepening poverty, unemployment, hunger, severe cash shortage and desperation to survive will not disappear by brutalising them but the government needs to have clear answers and respond to their needs,” he said.
He said the police brutality painted a picture that the government has no clue on how to respond to the genuine concerns of citizens other than brutalising them.
“We call upon the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to fulfil its constitutional mandate and immediately investigate the violations and bring the perpetrators to book.”
He said the Ministry of Home Affairs should also investigate public brutality and prosecute the offending officers.
“ZCA urges Zimbabweans to continue with their peaceful demonstrations until their grievances are addressed,” Sibanda said.