Who will protect citizens from their ‘supposed’ protectors?

The month of October brought not just scorching temperatures, but the searing heat may well be the signs of the hard and tough living conditions that Zimbabweans are enduring.

The situation in the country is proving to be ever more dire as people are facing a leadership that does not seem to care for its citizens, rightly reflected by the death of Hilton Tafadzwa Tamangani while in police custody on the 18th of October 2019.

Tamangani was one of 11 vendors arrested and assaulted by police on 12 October 2019 for allegedly inciting public violence. While awaiting the court to rule on his bail application, he was denied access to medical assistance by police despite repeated efforts by his lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to plead with the State for him to get the much needed medical assistance. Tamangani died at Harare remand prison.

In a separate incident at Masawe Informal Settlement, located between Chishawasha and Umwinsidale area, police reportedly shot and killed 29 year old Bruce Luka on the 18th of October 2019. Luka was accused of rape by his partner whom he lived with and had an altercation with the investigating officer together with 3 other police officers from Highlands Police Station who had followed up on the case. One of the officers reportedly drew a pistol and shot Luka at close range killing him instantly. Luka’s family reportedly sought to understand the circumstances behind their loved one’s killing, but report that they were neither well received nor assisted by Highlands police, leading to their reporting the incident at Police General Headquarters (PGHQ). The case number is RRB421/19-0242703631.

The deaths of the two men are a distressing indication of how the second republic is retracing the same modus operandi of the late former President Robert Mugabe’s government. Recently the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, of which ZPP is part, released the “State of Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe 2018”1. The report reveals that 72% of human rights violations documented were perpetrated by the state. This figure indicates how vulnerable the Zimbabwean populace is, as they are being persecuted, and in the case of Tamangani and Luka; succumbed to injuries inflicted by the very people who should be protecting them. The perpetrator analysis of violations received during the course of the month indicate that uniformed forces were a major perpetrator. after Zanu PF. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) stood at 22.29% followed by the municipal police at 6.58% , Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the Central Intelligence Office (CIO) stood at 3.18% and 0.64% respectively. These statistics reveal that ZRP is increasingly playing a prominent role in perpetuating human rights violations, a notable change from previous years where the CIO were leading.

Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)

Download full report here (1MB PDF)

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