HARARE- CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition (CIZC) has condemned growing cases of state repression in recent weeks where police have been quick to crush street demonstrations by citizens, including one staged by a pastor.
In a statement, CIZC spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo said Monday’s crushing of a teachers protest march over salary delays for December were a calculated assault on civil liberties.
“As if this was not enough, the police went on to crush a demonstration by touts in Chitungwiza,” Nkomo said.
“The demonstrators were merely trying to exercise their constitutional rights enshrined in the country’s supreme charter.”
Nkomo said the country’s constitution guaranteed the right to peaceful demonstrations and petitioning of authorities whenever they had grievances.
“We call upon the government to urgently address the bread and butter issues which have caused these Zimbabwean citizens to take to the streets,” he said.
“These issues include the late payment of civil servants salaries, the escalating cost of living and the general harsh economic conditions which have reduced most Zimbabweans to paupers.”
The Coalition further called on government to urgently attend to the country’s deteriorating economic situation to restore its investor friendliness.
“The high handed actions of the police actually militate against investor confidence,” he said.
The civic group also condemned Wednesday’s arrest of NewsDay editor Nqaba Matshazi and journalist Xolisani Ncube, who were subsequently released on bail Thursday.
The two were arrested for allegedly communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state, charges which stemmed from of a lead story carried by the private daily on Wednesday claiming government secretly paid the CIO ahead of the rest of the civil service.
“This trend of repression has grown alarmingly over the past two months as evidenced by the arrest of Pastor Patrick Mugadza for holding a one man demonstration against government economic failures,” Nkomo said.
He further highlighted the arrest of citizens in Chitungwiza early this week who were caught in street skirmishes between touts and some alleged Zanu PF youths.
Last month also saw the prosecution of Kariba based Pastor Patrick Mugadza, who staged a lone demonstration against President Mugabe’s failing leadership.