OPPOSITION parties yesterday roundly condemned the Zanu PF government for brazenly violating citizens’ right to participate in peaceful protests and using brute force to quell dissenting voices.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
This comes in the wake of the police clampdown on rural teachers who took to the streets on Monday demanding better working conditions.
Police over the past two days also descended heavily on Harare and Chitungwiza commuter omnibus crews, who were demonstrating against stiff traffic charges imposed by the local authorities.
In a statement, the main opposition MDC-T equated the Zanu PF regime to a terrorist group which has no respect for provisions of the national Constitution.
“The MDC unreservedly condemns the high-handed and unlawful action by the police in violently crushing a peaceful demonstration. It is apparent that the Zanu PF regime is afraid of the people of Zimbabwe,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“The regime is now paranoid as it is acutely aware of the fact that millions of Zimbabweans are living in abject poverty and destitution as a direct result of the regime’s misrule, unmitigated corruption and misgovernance.
“Typical of all dictatorial and fascist regimes, the Zanu PF government is determined to use brute force and violence in order to unconstitutionally stop Zimbabweans from exercising their constitutional right to stage peaceful demonstrations. Zimbabwe has now degenerated into a virtual police state since all forms of demonstrations against the deteriorating socio-economic conditions presently obtaining in the country are crushed through the thuggish and Stalinist use of force and repression.”
The Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) accused the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) of operating outside its charter, which compels it to protect human life and respect the supreme law of the country.
“It is unprecedented brutality. They have lost focus on their service charter, which is to serve the public. The public are allowed by the Constitution to demonstrate and protest and that right should be protected by the police. They cannot simply chose which rights in the Constitution they seek to protect,” PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said.
However, police national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba defended the ZRP, saying said they would not stand by and watch the country slide into lawlessness.
“As the police, we will not sit and watch these unsanctioned demonstrations happening because they are unacceptable and we are going to arrest those involved in such activities,” she said.