Govt violence horrifies Zim

HARARE - Police yesterday battered and seriously injured outspoken National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) leader, Sten Zvorwadza — who had gone to Harare Central Police Station to hand over a peace offering to law enforcement agents.

Zvorwadza’s brutal assault, which resulted in him being admitted at the Avenues Clinic in the capital, also came after riot police savagely crushed a Tajamuka/Sesjikile march on Wednesday.

The ruthless crackdown on all dissenting voices by President Robert Mugabe’s panicking government triggered an outpouring of anger across the country yesterday, with rights groups and pro-democracy groups saying there was now an urgent need for the intervention of the regional Sadc bloc in the deepening Zimbabwe crisis.

Zimbabweans who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the barbaric reaction to dissent by the State evoked memories of the bloody March 2007 assaults in which heavily-armed police crushed a prayer meeting in Highfield which resulted in the death of a cobbler and MDC supporter, Gift Tandare.

On that day, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other prominent politicians that included Lovemore Madhuku, Grace Kwinjeh and Tendai Biti were pummelled mercilessly by police, leading to the intervention of Sadc.

Among those who are outraged by the rising police brutality are Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Jonathan Moyo.

“I wholly condemn disproportionate use of force without any reservation. Use of lawful force must be proportionate! New situations often pose challenges to law enforcement & rogue elements often exploit such situations anywhere!” Moyo wrote on the micro-blogging site, Twitter.

Responding to questions from his followers on who should stop the police violence Moyo said: “By all. There’s no shortage of rogue elements who spoil things for everyone often by making a bad situation worse! Unlawful violence is unacceptable & must stop in the national interest. There can be no debate about that!

“Law enforcement is essential, more so in these times of provocative antics but it must be lawful. Remember 2007! Pictures of unlawful violence can change everything for the worst as did this 11 March 2007 Tsvangirai picture!”

He then proceeded to publish the gory picture of Tsvangirai showing his sutured head after being battered in Highfield on that day, when police crushed the prayer meeting.

Wednesday’s brutal crackdown against vendors and pro-democracy groups, that included radical pressure group Tajamuka/Sesjikile, came hard on the heels of similar recent ruthless action against war veterans and unemployed graduates — and as calls for Mugabe and Zanu PF to resign from power are mounting.

But police spokesperson Charity Charamba defended the police action saying that some law enforcement agents had been injured in that Wednesday anarchy, a development which she blamed on “unruly elements”.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch senior researcher for southern Africa, Dewa Mavhinga, urged human rights defenders to accurately document the abuses and lodge complaints with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

“Even if there is no justice now, an accurate record of abuses and complaints is essential for justice to be achieved under future administrations. Current protests have so far raised Zimbabwe issues for Sadc attention, with the exception that Sadc wants Zimbabwe to reverse SI 64 that bans imports because the policy is viewed as harmful to regional trade.

“More needs to be done to raise the tempo to levels that triggered Sadc’s response in March 2007,” Mavhinga told the Daily News.

Peace building group, Heal Zimbabwe, said it was disturbing that police had now made it their business to harm and violate people’s rights in violation of the Constitution.

“Heal Zimbabwe notes that while freedom to demonstrate and petition is well provided for under Section 59 of the Constitution, the disregard for the Constitution by the police is not only despicable but archaic especially in today’s world where rule of law must take precedence.

“The police are not only violating the Constitution but also their own Police Client Service Charter. The actions by the police are deplorable to say the least and also contradict their mission.

“This aims to maintain law and order, protect and secure the lives and property of the people and to institute dynamic policing practices that engender effective prevention, investigation and detection of crime,” it said.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News that human rights defenders should also use smart methods of identifying rogue police officers so that they could be individually sued for damages by anyone whose rights would have been abused.

“We have definitely entered the season of State-sponsored violence and terrorism. As Election 2018 approaches, the Zanu PF regime is getting increasingly intolerant and paranoid.

“The chances of police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri changing his attitude towards peaceful demonstrators are close to zero. Chihuri invariably talks and acts like an active Zanu PF cadre.

“He has never made a secret of the fact that he is a die-hard Zanu PF supporter. When the collapsing Zanu PF regime is threatened by the wave of peaceful demonstrations, Chihuri also perceives that his position as the police boss is being threatened,” Gutu said.

On his part, Biti also said individual police officers beating up people should be prosecuted.

“There are a number of lawyers who are ready to assist victims of police brutality and what we are trying to do is to take action against them in their individual capacity. The law allows that now. We cannot be having police beating people willy-nilly because they have power.

“The worst human rights abuses are violence where people are beaten, tortured and murdered. It’s time we fight back before being taken back to 2008 and to the Gukurahundi era.  Zanu PF is a regime that does not understand the power of dialogue and believes in using force to silence people,” the PDP leader told the Daily News.

Wednesday’s police violence against protesters also became a subject of heated debate in Parliament where speaker Jacob Mudenda blocked a motion to have a commission of inquiry into growing police brutality.

This happened after Kuwadzana East MP and MDC vice president, Nelson Chamisa, had raised the issue. But Mudenda demanded to be furnished with footage of police brutality and other material which he said Parliament needed to consider before he could allow the motion.

Comments (26)

Installing brutal fear into the population is something the Mugabe regime is good at - it is their one and only strategy. Calling this country a democracy is about as far removed from the truth you can possibly get. Other than perhaps Ian Khama of Botswana none of the other members would ever dare challenge Mugabe regardless of the suffering he causes. Would be nice to hear the Roman Catholic Church, a close and loyal ally of Mugabe, formally condemn this sort of behaviour...but they don't, do they?

White Colonial Boy - 19 August 2016

All these ZRP bloodhounds who are pretending they can not distinguish between lawful and unlawful orders will account for their vile deeds soon . While Chihuri, Chombo and other bigwigs will be flown in leg irons straight to the ICC in the Hague, the rank and file members will face the direct wrath of the public through domestic justice mechanisms. Remember Charles Taylor?. Lets all collect the footage as the Speaker foolishly demands, whether one is in a building just above where the brutality is taking place or in a kombi that is speeding to get away from the mayhem.

Jaikolu Maison - 19 August 2016

are we still in a democratic Zimbabwe or otherwise uuuumm police revise your manners

tinashe musendami - 19 August 2016

Why can't Mugabe unleash his violence on sanctions.

Ziziharinanyanga - 19 August 2016

going to the police station to do what?we cannot have the likes of zvoradza provoking our p[olice force,the police are trained to mantain law and order,our properties must be safe and the lives of other citizens also,peace must be kept and if the price is beating zvoradza to death then let it be,for an idiot agrieved with someone staying in a hotel,the likes of zvoradza are just radarless and take instructions from british and american embassies

truth - 19 August 2016

I think it now should be fire with fire,for evry person savagelly beaten by police ,2 police should recive thesame bashing whether in uniform or note

chengetanayi - 19 August 2016

People: Take as many pictures as possible of those misguided members of The ZANUPF Youth in ZRP Uniforms. In 1965, Ian Smith used to taunt us by declaring that " The Rhodesian Front will ruleRhodesia for a 1000 years". Asika chisingaperi chinoshura.

Sekuru Ndoronga - 19 August 2016

The country have been militarised to suppress the wills of the people.its high time the massess need strong leaders who are not afraid and lead from the trenches from east ,west ,north ,south and liberate us again

chaputsa - 19 August 2016

mapurisa muchazvikuvadzisa imi makambowanda zvakadiiko respect pple vazvimiririre pama issues anovanetsa munodaro nekuti imi muri pamabasa vamwe vachitambura kusadzorera i respect but next time tokurovai majaira

masvingo - 19 August 2016

ZRP uniform is a Uniform of Shame in line with the SS Gestapo uniform of Hitler's Germany and the red berets of 5 Brigade of gukurahundi.

Clear - 19 August 2016

ZRP uniform is a Uniform of Shame in line with the SS Gestapo uniform of Hitler's Germany and the red berets of 5 Brigade of gukurahundi.

Clear - 19 August 2016

Zrp is becoming a disgrace to all the people of zimbabwe, people are demonstrating peacefully because its their constitutional right to do so, ko imi muri kumbogara munyika ipi chaizvo coz if there is an economic meltdown you will also be affected, some of the orders you are being given by your bosses haasi ekutevedzera just dont execute them; the point is you the police stay with us in the surburbs so what if we target you at your homesteads, so dont act like you are staying in mars........

Geo - 19 August 2016

The only way out of policeman brutality is to do what they do to us and we must stop being cry babies and being very docile give police man their muti . That is where the sticking point is policeman defend thugs and give police uniform to zanu youth to go beat up citizen practicing their democratic rights by doing demos they never arrest those who attack opposition supporters and by doing that they are now working for zanu .Lets drive them to police camps where they can live bcoz seeing them every day among us reminds us of their brutality so they must go they are evil .Same same with bathakathi.

Diibulaanyika - 19 August 2016

ZRP Police is a microcosm of our problems. Let us examine the source of their power. The source of their instructions. We will find that it is the same authority that believed in cutting peoples limbs after losing the 2008 election. It is the same authority that teaches army and police recruits party propaganda, party songs above and before everything else. It is the same authority that spends millions in foreign travel rather than develop hospitals. It is the same authority that believes very major institution, every major project has to be headed by a war veteran. It is the same authority that has perfected the art of failure.

Viva Unidade - 19 August 2016

Its thugs, murderers, fraudsters, thieves and conmen vs the people. Take your sides people. Personally, if the little moron called truth comes my way, I would gladly bash his brains out, they're not working.

Sagitarr - 19 August 2016

THIS IS NOT GOOD, PEOPLE SHOULD NOW ARM THEMSELVES, NO STOP PROTESTS BUT ZIMBABWEANS LET ARM OURSELVES, THIS GOVT DOES NOT WANT PEACE. ZIMBABWEANS ARE PROTESTING PEACEFULLY BUT THEY COME OUT WITH BUTTON STICKS, LETS ARM OURSELVES ZIMBABWEANS, LETS FIGHT THESE CORRUPT AND VIOLENCE BRED POLICE FORCE, ARMY AND ZANU PF.

CHAMA CHAMA - 19 August 2016

ZIMBABWEANS IF PEACEFULLY DEMONSTRATING IS WRONG, THEREFORE LET US CONSIDER PROTECTING OURSELVES. IF THE LAW OF THE LAND CANNOT PROTECT CIVILIANS, WE HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS BUT TO PROTECT OUR SELVES AGAINST BRUTALITY. FOR ONCE MUGABE MUST READ THE TIMES, THINGS HAVE CHANGED AND HIS NAME IS TAINTED WITH BLOOD. ZIMBABWEANS LETS CONSIDER PROTECTING OURSELVES FROM THESE TERRORISTS WHO ARE SO CALLED POLICEMEN

PROTECT YOUR SELF - 19 August 2016

Simply put- you are nothing more than an African warlord mugabe and should be treated as such.

Martin - 19 August 2016

MAPURISA MADINGA AYA KUSHANDISWA KUDARO. THATS WHY THEY EARN PEANUTS COZ HAVANA REASONING CAPACITY. YOU ARE NOT FORCED TO BEAT SOMEONE INTO A PULP. YOUR MONEY PROBLEMS WILL NOT GO BY BATTERING FELLOW ZIMBOS WHO HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DEMONSTRATE. WHEN THE RULING THUGGISH PARTY DEMONSTRATE THEY ARE EVEN ESCORTED BY THESE GOONS CALLED POLICE BUT WHEN PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT VIEWS DO SO, THEY ARE BEATEN TO DEATH.SHAME ON YOU MAPURISA!!

Murozvimukuru - 20 August 2016

@truth I did not risk my life to turn a white minority into a black minority. Mugabe regime has taken over and is using same methods as Smith. If we cannot use peaceful protests like carrying flowers, then we are in trouble. Just because you have unjustified and unwarranted gains does not you have to support this evil regime of RGM. If you were to be bitten by a snake, can you get treatment in your area? Do you support corrupt tenderpreneurs or are you one of them. If you encourage crime like beating innocent protester to dearth, you are equally guilty.

realwarvet - 20 August 2016

LETS DRIVE THEM AWAY FROM OUR HOME, THESE ZRP THUGS. LET THEM GO TO STAY IN THE CAMP WITH POOR ACCOMMODATION, BUSTARDS

ALL ZRP TENENTS OUT - 20 August 2016

These ZRP officers are our relatives. We must show them love. Educate them or as we used to say in the war re-educate them. One day they will remember that they are people, from the people of the people. We must not exact an eye for an eye. If we do how can we show that we are different from Robert Mugabe and his henchmen. We are better than these people let us not allow them to draw us into their mud.

Viva Unidade - 20 August 2016

Zimbabweans chose their government without Sadc or any other 3rd party involved. Now that the government of their choice turns out to be dictatorial (worse than Smith`s ) I see no sense in calling for intervention from this grouping called Sadc ( a sham grouping of pigs bent on enriching themselves at the expense of their populace). Besides, every other country in this world is pre-occupied with its own problems. For anybody in Zimbabwe to dream of some messiah from some other country to rescue us from the mess we created (by having Mugabe regime for over 36 years) is sheer fallacy. Its simple, very simple: we have to liberate ourselves. History tells us there is not a single dictator who has relinquished power because of threats from demos. It takes much more than that.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 20 August 2016

Welcome to Zimbabwe a country run by pagans. We need a thousand years to catch up with the rest of the word.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 21 August 2016

Syria

Slim Cat - 21 August 2016

I followed responses from the commissioner of police time and again. One would think she is not black or never sucked her mothers breast. She is naive to think her wealth will give her eternal life,. Because there is no leader at the top, very commissioner and commander is taking the lw into their own hands. The $15b reported missing would be a priority now if there was leadership. I am sure those at the top are sharing in this loot! The country has become worse than George Orwell's animal farm. Why is mugabe sending Zimbabwe into the dark ages? Because his family will live in Saudi Arabia just like Idi Amin. Shame on you!

War Crimes - 23 August 2016

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