Military brutality now global crisis for ED

HARARE - The ongoing savage crackdown by the military against innocent civilians — including killings, rape, torture and horrendous beatings of law-abiding citizens — has become a full-blown international human rights crisis for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government, the Daily News on Sunday can report.

Such is the extent of the global public relations disaster that now confronts Zimbabwe’s so-called new dispensation — as a result of the dreadful conduct of the country’s security forces over the past two weeks — that even hitherto friendly powers such as Britain are now turning against Zimbabwe.

And from the United States of America to Germany, China and South Africa, the only coverage being given to Zimbabwe these days in those countries’ mainstream media only relates to the brutal clampdown by authorities against dissenting voices.

Similarly, churches and global human rights organisations are churning out statement after statement on the military’s atrocities in the country, meaning that Zimbabwe once again finds itself in the position which obtained in the last two decades of former president Robert Mugabe’s ruinous rule — as a pariah among the global family of nations.

Not surprisingly, the United Kingdom is planning to take Zimbabwe’s ongoing human rights abuses to all relevant multilateral forums — including the United Nations — Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said last week.

“We all celebrated the demise of the Mugabe regime, feeling and hoping that a new chapter of Zimbabwean history was commencing. We are very concerned about the disproportionate response of the security forces to the recent protests,” British minister of State in the Foreign Office, Mark Field, added.

On its part, Amnesty International has called on authorities to reign in the security forces, and to see to it that they are held to account for the ongoing brutal human rights violations.

“At least 12 people have been killed and dozens more injured by the security forces since protests began on 14 January.

“Up to 700 people, including minors, have been detained after being arrested on trumped-up charges or brought before courts in hearings that do not meet fair trial standards. Hundreds have been denied bail,” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s regional director for southern Africa, said at the weekend.

“The onslaught by the security forces has seen people killed, arbitrarily arrested, abducted, reportedly raped and jailed on suspicion of taking part in protests. 
Children as young as 11 years old have been detained on frivolous charges.

“The Zimbabwean authorities must immediately halt their menacing threats towards civil society leaders, activists, opposition leaders, and suspected organisers of protests.

“The authorities must ensure that those who violated and continue to violate human rights face justice,” Muchena added.

He said Amnesty International had documented a systematic pattern of human rights violations, including restrictions on public assembly, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, and the recent Internet shutdowns by authorities.

“A Zimbabwe that is prosperous and based on the rule of law will never be built by brutalising dissent. The authorities must immediately stop this merciless crackdown on activists, civil society leaders, and others who are guilty of nothing more than exercising their right to freedom of expression.

“President Mnangagwa has called on all Zimbabweans to come together during this difficult moment. That must include respecting human rights,” Muchena said.

On its part, the military has denied that its members are responsible for the killings, rape and beatings — saying the perpetrators of these atrocities are “bogus 
elements” working to sully the image of security forces.

“The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has noted with concern allegations of misconduct and acts of violence ... The actions of these bogus elements have subsequently put the image of the organisation into disrepute,” it said this week.

However, local churches and rights groups have disputed this rebuttal and also challenged the government to act to bring justice to the victims of the violence, which they say has reached “epidemic levels.”

In a rare rebuke of the government, the founder and senior pastor of Celebration Church, Tom Deuschle, said it was heart-breaking that dozens of victims of sexual violence in this conflict were children.

“I spoke to one of Zimbabwe’s fine nurse counsellors yesterday. Stories of more than 23 children she had treated— all brutalised physically + sexually during recent political upheaval.

“They all identified police as perpetrators! Unacceptable! Cannot be swept under the carpet,” the respected cleric wrote on Twitter.

Last week, the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe also issued a withering criticism of the government, saying it should end the rights abuses in the country by the military.

“We, the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, have observed with increasing concern and alarm the state of our Zimbabwean nation from the time of the military-assisted political change that took place in November 2017, to the total shutdown of Zimbabwe’s major cities and rural trading centres that began on Monday, 14 January 2019.

“We witnessed with sadness and concern the dissipation of hope for a united nation and a promising future when our politicians failed to harness the palpable oneness and goodwill prevailing among Zimbabweans across the political divide during and immediately after the political events of November 2017.

“Government’s heavy-handed and intolerant handling of dissent and expression of rights by … the dissatisfied population resulted in injury and death to innocent ordinary people,” the bishops said in their letter sent to the Vatican last week.

Meanwhile, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that the government had launched probes into the alleged abuses by security forces.

“Everything will be investigated and no stone will be left unturned. We need peace to prevail,” she said.

Police also said they were separately investigating all accusations made against their officers and urged people to report “without fear” all those who had perpetrated the violence.

“The ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage wishes to acknowledge reports of alleged rape, sexual abuse and assaults that have been perpetrated by security forces during the recent operation.

“So far, the police have received one such report from St Mary’s, Chitungwiza, and the case is already under investigation.

“We take these rape allegations very seriously and investigations will be instituted immediately once complainants file reports with the police.

“Let me assure all Zimbabweans that … government takes an exception to anyone who perpetrates any form of crime, especially rape perpetrated against women and children,” Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema said at the weekend.

Human rights groups said it was “shocking “ that brutal acts of sexual and gender-based violence continued to be perpetrated even after Mnangagwa had promised to take action.

“Men in army uniforms allegedly raped three Form One girls today in Old Phumula, Bulawayo, & 11 men in army uniforms ordered people at Bhangu shops in Mpopoma, Bulawayo to close their shops & go indoors ... no reasons given for directive,” Human Rights Watch director for southern Africa , Dewa Mavhinga said on Twitter.

Comments (20)

Why cant the victms report to the police, and prefer to report to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International Instead. The veracity of these reports is very questionable.

willo - 27 January 2019

The police are the culprits, can't you read.

system - 27 January 2019

Nail this MF and his band of killers. The UN must punish him and the Commonwealth must never admit back these murderers. No amount of planted cheerleading will work. You are all Border Gezi planted fools. You're told what to write, at least some of us comment independently.

Moe Syszlack - 27 January 2019

Gift Phiri - Concerning matters about Zimbabwe, WHAT IS UNITED KINGDOM by the way? Some kind of master, referee or what! We are not cry babies!! Daily Lies you are still living in some dream that Chanyiswa won the elections, hence these delusions and illusions!! NIGHTMARES ACTUALLY!!

Will Blackman - 28 January 2019

Takakuudzai kuti its a new dispensation in the nagative direction. Nyika yafa apa hapana kana one deal rabuda. Hapana zvirikubuda apa. Rig the economy tokutii makorokoto apa

Chanyiswa - 28 January 2019

Willo, don't be stupid. Does one report a robber to a thief? What's the difference between ZRP and ZNA?

Jonso - 28 January 2019

In the absence of one independent body making the investigation, hope has already faded. The government hopes the matter will die a natural death by making supposedly multi-pronged approach the resultant confusion will distort everything. Organisations like the ICC must learn to be pro-active and intervene whilst there is first hand evidence not to wait for years and come when all perpetrators and victims are long gone. Its almost impossible to expect traumatised victims to come forward with information to the same ZRP that brutalised them on the same notion its naive to think the ZRP will investigate itself.

Sinyo - 28 January 2019

Oh dear! Looks like a few pro-government supporters have been rattled... Cry babies indeed when it looks like they may have to account for their actions. Eye for an eye many may say and who could deny that a comeuppance is well overdue.... Would help with the unemployment situation. 'Wanted - Public Executioner' or should that read 'Exterminator' for that is what these so called' liberators' are - nothing more than Zanu vermin.

dr dre - 28 January 2019

Criminals investigating themselves! How novel. Look at the August post election murders. What has happened? Nowt. Popular revolt is what's needed and the recent rioting gave the government the perfect excuse to go in and 'arrest' potential ring-leaders or coordinators. An attempt to nip it in the bud.

dr dre - 28 January 2019

How can someone report it to the ZRP? The ZRP will tell you that this is a political matter and they are not interested to hear it. The ZRP is just a useless partisan force and that is also complicit in these matters. Under ED the ZRP has become worse, I thought it would be more professional.

Inyika - 28 January 2019

@willo @ will - one day the same terrorists you're cheering on will toss a tear gas canister into your house or hut or under the rock you live or of your relatives, if you have any.

Sagitarr - 28 January 2019

Willo is one of them who has been brutalizing innocent Zimbabweans, zanu police and zanu army have been committing genocide in the country since 1980, the international community do not care about civilian Zimbabweans.

Kufandada - 28 January 2019

This situation really makes you wonder who is in charge of Zimbabwe.

David - 28 January 2019

if MDCA had won elections which police force or army would it use to enforce law and order in our beloved Zimbabwe?

bingaz - 28 January 2019

But why doesn't Gift Phiri talk about the looting and the victimisation of other citizens by some of the protesters!? We are not far long before we get to know who is behind both the army crackdown and wanton lawlessness by some citizens in the name of democracy!

Mhofu Chaiyo - 28 January 2019

Who shall police the police? I know of a case of looters who were asked by ZRP officers to pay huge bribes in order for their case to be terminated and guess what? The officers then took possession of the recovered loot including computers, phones and other valuable IT items. The CID is investigating this case. So our armed police and soldiers have gone rogue and one shudders to imagine kuti zvichaguma kupi.

Samaita Dube - 28 January 2019

Psalms 82:2-5 MSG..."Enough! You've corrupted justice long enough, you've let the wicked get away with murder. You're here to defend the defenseless, tomake sure that underdogs get a fair break. Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them. Ignorant judges! Head-in-the-sand judges! They haven't a clue to what's going on. And now everything is falling apart........"'. Its very sad that this is a product of Chimurenga for so called majority rule. Yet the struggle was about the system according to Tongogara. And one would have thought the outcome to be an inclusive government, based on proportional representation. A strong slim cabinet made up of whites and blacks in fact without any racial divide but it's now a one party dictatorship worse than Hitler. But judgement day is coming and God shall judge

Eddy - 28 January 2019

The only way to prevent the recurrence of such violence and barbarism is to prosecute all the looters and their masters. Ultimately this will be to the benefit of all law-abiding Zimbabweans. No country will prosper when lawless mobs are allowed to roam stoning, thieving, harassing and murdering regular folks.

Buns Tinobvinex - 30 January 2019

MDC is panic mode - complete meltdown. ED = Electronic transaction tax - check; Fuel price increase - check. Chamisa = yelling, screaming, kicking, rioting, = Zero accomplishment

Buns Tinobvinex - 30 January 2019

I believe that there are two armies operating in Zimbabwe. One which was formed by G40 and the real state army. It is the G40 army which is going to peoples homes and beating up people. G40 has all uniforms for the army. police and prison services. Once there is an opportunity G40 deploys its people and they go and beat up people.G40 would like people to think that ED got it all wrong and it appears they are winning as the international community has already started casting doubt on ED. Pity Chamisa takes credit for everything.

takutaku - 1 February 2019

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