Zimbabwe’s Opposition political parties, human rights civic organisations and analysts have roundly condemned the police for using brute force on protesters, saying the duty of the law enforcement agents was to protect citizens, not to violate their rights.
This comes as opposition parties were still battling to raise bail money for arrested protesters, including the three Glen View women — Esther Mutsigiri, Gladys Musindo and Beatrice Rutsvara — whose backsides were ghastly bludgeoned by the police during Saturday’s National Electoral Reform Agenda demonstration.
The protesters, who included Glen View North MP Fani Munengami, were on Tuesday granted $400 bail each by Mbare magistrate, Stanley Mumbanje.
Transform Zimbabwe president Jacob Ngarivhume yesterday raised $800 for two severely injured women, who were eventually released in the evening and taken to a private hospital in Harare. MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu condemned the police’s “unprofessional” actions, saying he suspected members of the Zanu PF militia were masquerading as duly attested police officers.
“The level of brutality, callousness and barbarism that has been recently exhibited by the Zanu PF thugs in police uniform will certainly make ISIS green with envy,” he said.
Gutu said an inquiry to ascertain the exact identity of the police officers who bludgeoned innocent and defenceless citizens should be carried out.
Zimbabwe People First spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire said police had a constitutional duty to protect the rights of every citizen, including those incarcerated, and not to violate their rights.
“The activists have a constitutional right to protest. We don’t expect the police or anyone doing that to behave in that manner,” he said.
“It is also sad that most of the victims are women. What kind of society does not respect its mothers, fathers and children? We have become a rogue State that eats, speaks and acts violence.”
ZimRights director, Okay Machisa said: “The police force must be investigated and perpetrators clearly sanctioned. We urge the government to stop the evident breakdown in the rule of law and total disregard of constitutional rights by law enforcement agents in Zimbabwe.”
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum yesterday released a report that singled out the police as the biggest perpetrator of violence, contributing 64%, followed by Zanu PF supporters at 26% of the 555 cases reported across the country between September 1 and 17.
Political analyst, Vivid Gwede said: “The implications of these violations could hamper any current efforts of reviving the economy since development financiers are cautious about being seen to be supporting such kind of national governance.”