US state secretary for Africa, Johnnie Carson said while their government was encouraged that some perpetrators of violence had been convicted, it was worried that some cases went unpunished.
“At the same time the US is concerned by other recent cases that suggest excesses and a continued partisan bias on the part of law enforcement officers and prosecutors in the conduct of their duties,” Carson said in a teleconference with Zimbabwean journalists on Thursday.
He said the US was alarmed by the death of Tsorosai Kusena and the assault of three individuals allegedly at the hands of police officers at a base in Marange.
Carson said they were also alarmed at the unrestrained show of violence by members of the Zanu-PF aligned Chipangano gang.
“[Chipangano] fosters an unacceptable environment of fear and intimidation that will only perpetuate violence and undermine the peace and stability which police are sworn to protect,” Carson said.
Chipangano has been on a widespread campaign of violence and recently they have been fingered as being responsible for assaulting parliamentarians and journalists.
The consistent harassment of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza), the top US diplomat said, was also a matter of concern. He condemned the arrest of civic society leaders and Movement for Democratic Change officials as they carried out their duties.
“The reported occupation of city council or privately owned properties in Harare and Bulawayo, and of foreign owned companies in Masvingo, by youths acting in the name of Zanu-PF fundamentally undermines constitutionally-assured property rights, investor confidence, and Zimbabwe’s economic recovery,” Carson said.
He condemned what he described as the routine invocation of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to hold politically-oriented and civil society detainees despite judicial rulings granting them bail nullifies judicial checks on the excesses of the executive and suggest a strong partisan bias from the Attorney General’s Office.
“If left unchallenged, actions such as these lend credence to public perceptions of Zanu-PF as a party committed to violence and intimidation unconstrained by the laws of the land,” Carson said. “They further paint the police force and prosecutors as serving the interests of that party, rather than the Zimbabwean people or the state.”