Thumbs up to ZHRC

HARARE - It is like a breath of fresh air and indeed something that gives us reason to believe that some commissions that were set up by government have the nation at heart and are not there to massage the egos of those in power.

It is funny that government is hopping mad after the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) slammed police for violating the rights of citizens by denying them the right to demonstrate as provided for by the country’s Constitution.

Our government, which is not accustomed to judgments going against it, was predictably not happy by ZHRC’s conclusion that the trigger-happy police were on the wrong side of the law.

We are pleased that at least there is a voice of reason in our midst — and that unlike in the past when commissions were packed with elements sympathetic to the ruling party — the game appears to be different now.

As was noted by ZHRC, police indeed violated fundamental human rights last week — through the use of tactics reminiscent to the Ian Smith white supremacist government before independence.

It should be noted that violence begets violence and when police routinely start throwing teargas and chasing innocent citizens, some individuals can retaliate.

Our police are there to protect and serve the broad masses and certainly, they are not meant to force or beat up people, neither are the police there to protect the powers that be.

Is it not that our Constitution transforms the police from being a police force into a police service and yet we are still to notice any change of tact in our law enforcement agents’ behaviour.

Apologists and propagandists sympathetic to Zanu PF should ever appreciate that this country is founded on the principles of the supremacy of the Constitution, fundamental human rights and freedoms, and recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of each human being.

As correctly observed by ZHRC, Section 219 of the Constitution provides that the police have a duty to protect and secure the lives and property of the people as well as uphold the Constitution.

We just hope that commissions in Zimbabwe take the route that has been assumed by the ZHRC and call a spade a spade otherwise they have no reason to be in existence.

Commissions such as that of Peace and Reconciliation and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should take a cue from ZHRC and start serving the nation and not parochial interests of those ensconced in the ruling party.

We are against violence and all its manifestations; it has no place in a modern and progressive society.

The acts of banditry that some unruly demonstrators exhibited should not be an excuse to disrespect the rule of law.

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