In a worrying trend, the government of Zimbabwe remains keen on curtailing freedoms and denying citizens their constitutional rights often with a brutal show of force in public places.
During a citizen demonstration in Harare on Friday, September 29, 2017, the authorities showed that they still consider the constitutional rights to protest and the security of journalists as peripheral to the regime’s security priorities.
Citizens had to run for dear life as the riot police indiscriminately fired rubber bullets and teargas, in public places, to disperse #Tajamuka/Sesjikile protestors who were staging a protest against the untenable economic situation.
In the process, Daily News journalists Mugove Tafirenyika and Brighton Goko and some of the activists had to be hospitalised after being injured in the police attacks.
These developments continue from the last protests, when police fired a water cannon at Al Jazeera journalist, Haru Mutasa and her cameraman, while using teargas and water cannon indiscriminately in public places in the capital city.
Despite widespread complaints about such behaviour, there is no appetite to cut down on the violence.
Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the right to demonstrate and petition as long as those rights are exercised peacefully, which the authorities must respect.
But the police have not only disrupted protests as they have also created the situation for such protests to be violent.
Apart from the police violence, there are more cases of disrespect of human rights.
Only recently a Bulawayo author, Crispen Ndlovu, discovered in a live bullet in his letter box in what appeared to be linked to his release of a political satire book titled: Sleeping with the Enemy.
All these developments come at a time when the government has failed in failed in more than three years to account for Itai Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist, who was abducted in March 2015.
This consistent pattern of human rights violations does not show a commitment to improving the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
ZimRights reminds the government of Zimbabwe not to be smug in its actions of omission and commission, regarding the responsibility derived from the constitution and international frameworks to protect human rights.
The current business as usual trend of human rights violations makes hollow the country’s repeated commitments through the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs before the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
ZimRights Hotlines: 0773789874, 0733606797, 0718928611