Friday, 5 August 2016


Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) are scheduled to meet tomorrow where the issue of widespread police heavy-handedness on civilians is expected to come under the spotlight.
ZHRC official Petunia Chiriseri made the announcement during a stakeholder engagement workshop held in Chinhoyi yesterday.

Chiriseri said the commission was seized with the escalation of human rights violations perpetrated by law enforcement agents who were supposed to uphold the Constitution, which outlaws all forms of torture and other abuses.

“As we speak, our chairperson (Elasto Mugwadi) and other commissioners have a pending appointment on August 6 with the Police Commissioner-General over the use of brutal force on protesters in Epworth, Chitungwiza, Bulawayo and other pockets nationwide. We expect to present to him our findings,” Chiriseri, who is also a ZHRC commissioner, said.

Police last month allegedly used brute force to quell growing protests against President Robert Mugabe’s regime over the collapsing economy, numerous police roadblocks and corruption, among other socio-economic ills. Many protesters were left injured, while others faced torture following their arrest.

Participants at the workshop raised grave concern over the alleged partiality and lethargy of the ZHRC in dealing with past rights violations such as Operation Murambatsvina, describing the statutory body as a “toothless bulldog”.

It was also noted Zimbabwe had not made meaningful headway in the promotion of human rights as the issue had been politicised and was traditionally lobbied by civil society organisations suspected of harbouring an anti-government agenda.

Participants also felt human rights education and promotion should be extended to the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation, army and prison officers.

ZHRC reportedly dealt with 482 complaints last year, most of which were socio-economic related to the country’s moribund economy. newsday


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