Police use of violence to disperse civilians, barbaric and unconstitutional

Source: 20 November 2019Democracy, Human Rights

Heal Zimbabwe unreservedly condemns the use of brute force by the police during a scheduled Hope of the Nation Address by MDC Alliance President ,Nelson Chamisa on 20 November 2019. The attack on unarmed civilians came after party supporters had gathered outside the party’s headquarters in preparation for the scheduled address.

Heal Zimbabwe notes that while the police under section 219 of the Constitution is compelled to protect and secure the lives of people and property, its conduct during the scheduled address defeats the ideals of rule of law and constitutionalism. It is sad to note that the blatant disregard of citizens’ fundamental human rights and freedoms by the police is taking place in the absence of an independent complaints mechanism that is well provided for in Section 210 of the constitution. This important mechanism allows members of the public to submit complaints against misconduct by members of the security services which include the police.

This mechanism is important as it allows citizens to report acts of misconduct on the part of members of the security services. In 2016,Heal Zimbabwe took the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to the Constitutional Court over delays in providing an effective and independent mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from members of the public about the misconduct of members of the security services in compliance with Section 210 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Even though judgment was reserved for this case, it is Heal Zimbabwe’s view that without an independent mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from the public on the misconduct on the part of members of security services, constitutional provisions such as Section 206 that compel security services to respect fundamental rights and freedoms, citizens’ rights will continue to be violated.

Heal Zimbabwe implores the parliament to expedite the process of crafting an act that will operationalize this important mechanism. Heal Zimbabwe also implores the security services to use non-violent and engaging processes that seeks to address concerns amicably without resorting to the use of brute force.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe