The last few months have seen a rise in citizen actions voicing out against corruption, governance related issues, electoral reforms, economic challenges bedeviling the country among other issues. Paradoxically, the Police under Section 219 of the constitution are compelled to protect and secure the lives of people and property, their conduct in the recent waves of civic actions have been marked by the use of brutal force such as assaulting demonstrators with button sticks and setting dogs on them, the use of tear gas to disburse protestors among other forms of force. The mission of Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) reads: â€œTo maintain law and order, protect and secure the lives of and property of people and institute dynamic policing practices that engender effective prevention, investigation and detention of crimeâ€.
We have noted with concern calls from various senior government officials who have come openly to denounce and threaten citizens engaging in any form of constitutionally guaranteed civic actions â€“ this in violation of the National Constitution, a constitution which was borne out of the diverse views and aspirations of the Zimbabwean citizenry; We also have noted the increasing use of the draconian Public Order and SecurityÂ Act (POSA) to suppress dissent, even in the face of notices being given and protests cleared by the constitutional court â€“ this again in violation of our local laws and international law. ZRP has invoked Statutory Instrument 101 of 2016, to ban all demonstrations within central Harare.Â This has come in the wake of constitutionally guaranteed rights to petition and demonstrate under section 59 of the constitution â€“ this defeats the ideals of rule of law and constitutionalism.
Section 206 of the constitution compels security services to respect fundamental rights and freedoms while section 210 which allows members of the public to report cases of misconduct on the part of police and security services. We call on the government to set up an independent mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from the public on the misconduct on the part of members of security services – this to curb the growing violation of the rights of people at the wake of police brutality.
We note with sadness that to date whilst hundreds of protectors have been put behind bars and the rule of law served selectively, no security forces have been brought forward to account for their actions in violation of the national constitution. Continuation in detaining innocent protestors will not solve our challenges; observing justice will solve our challenges.
NAYO continue to call without hesitation; in the confines of our national laws, that the government should uphold the dignity of its people as enshrined in our constitution. Therefore,
- Ensure that the Rule of law is observed and guaranteed
- Ensure Decent Work is provided to the suffering young people of Zimbabwe; who are at the risk of being politically manipulated in the run up to 2018 elections.
- Ensure that the state apparatus such as police, respect the rights of the people and those found in violation of human rights are brought to justice.
- Repeal, align and amend the legislation that hinders the enjoyment of freedoms as enshrined in the Zimbabwe Constitution i.e. The Zimbabwe Youth Council Act, Censorship and Entertainments Control Act, Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, Public Order and Security Act [POSA] among other draconian laws.
- Introduce sufficient Electoral Reforms that guarantee transparency, free, fair and peaceful elections in Zimbabwe.
- Ensure the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), uphold its constitutional mandate of protecting people, at the same time the Executive should stop to -neither interfere nor threaten the judiciary.
- We call upon the release of activists, mainly innocent young people arrested and denied justice simply for excising their constitutional rights
We continue to make a clarion call to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Mr. R.G Mugabe to dialogue with youth; poised to solve myriad of challenges bedeviling our country.Post published in: Featured