The Alliance of Community Based Organizations is deeply disturbed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s barbaric use of force against unarmed citizens on the 20th of November 2019. We note with concern the indiscriminate and inhumane methods used against citizens who had peacefully gathered at Morgan Tsvangirai House for an address dubbed Hope for the Nation Address (HONA) by the party President Nelson Chamisa. On the said date, the police armed with tear gas and baton sticks violently responded to the gathering by not only severely assaulting party supporters but attacking citizens who were merely in the vicinity of the building going about their business.
We are deeply saddened and infuriated by reports of citizens who were severely injured during the melee, some of whom are women and elderly citizens who cannot pose a threat to a trained and well-equipped police officer. These injuries are going to be difficult to treat seeing as the nation’s healthcare system is already on its knees. Our position is that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is an institution put in place to protect citizens and preserve peace in our communities. Brutally attacking citizens who pose no threat to peace in the country in the manner showed by the ZRP is under no circumstances justifiable, it is a direct attack on our Constitutional rights and freedoms of assembly and association and on democracy itself. The brutality exhibited by the ZRP has no legal or moral basis. In so doing, the ZRP:
- Did NOT act as a non-partisan and professional institution as per Chapter 11 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
- Breached Section 13 of the recently established Maintenance of Peace and Order Act on its duties and powers.
- Violated Section 52 of the Constitution which speaks to citizens’ freedom from violence.
- Exhibited partisan, intolerant and undemocratic behavior.
The Alliance of Community Based Organizations call upon the State to urgently put in place transparent and viable mechanisms to hold those responsible for the violence accountable. We urge the State to scrutinize the security services of Zimbabwe and engage the broader society to come up with solutions to the persistent use of excessive and violent force and unjust withholding of our rights and freedoms to assembly and association. As community-based organizations, we demand that:
- The government of Zimbabwe urgently embarks on necessary steps towards progressive reforms for the good of every citizen and democracy in Zimbabwe.
- That the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (UN) takes seriously the continued use of indiscriminate force against unarmed citizens and call upon the government of Zimbabwe to uphold its citizen rights in with its constitution and regional and international instruments such as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of people to assemble and associate and express themselves.
Source: Alliance for Community Based Organizations (ACBOs)