The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has condemned the recent human rights abuses by the police.
The human rights violations were perpetrated in a bid to stop plans by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to demonstrate against tax hikes, increases in the prices of basic goods and the economic meltdown.
Police arrested and detained scores of members and leaders of the ZCTU in Harare, Mutare and Masvingo, including the Congress’s president, Peter Mutasa, and Secretary General, Japhet Moyo, who were picked up from their offices by heavily armed riot police on Thursday, October 11, 2018.
The arrests, assaults and detentions follow the police’s announcement and enforcement of an illegal ban against demonstrations in violation of Section 59 of the Constitution ostensibly to prevent the spread of Cholera.
ZimRights Director Okay Machisa has spoken strongly against the recent wanton violation of human rights by the police.
“It is disappointing to see that the police are assaulting unarmed civilian demonstrators who are peaceful,” said Machisa.
“What is clear is that the talk about a new way of doing things by President Emmerson Mnangagwa under the so-called new Dispensation is not showing in the behaviour of the police. The police have no rights to wantonly suspend the people’s human rights.
“We are seeing the continuation, even worsening of the old ways of reacting to citizens who are expressing their grievances.
“What justification is there for the government to increase taxes to already struggling citizens and then turnaround to arrest and assault those citizens for complaining, committing gross violation of human rights in the country?
“It is worrying that it only explains that there is no tangible change to talk about.”
Police details have been combing the streets of the major towns, especially Harare, rounding up, arresting and assaulting suspected activists.
ZimRights urged the police to stop the human rights violations against citizens and respect the people’s right to freely express themselves in peaceful ways, including demonstrations.
The deterioration in the human rights situation also follows the recent final report by the European Union Observer Mission which condemned the manner in which the Zimbabwean elections were conducted in July 2018.