THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has urged the government to put up mechanisms that will enable citizens to lodge complaints against members of the security services if they felt that their rights had been violated.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
This was raised in statement on the 2018 elections and the post electoral environment in Zimbabwe and in response to the issue of the recent shootings of seven civilians in Harare during demonstrations over elections by the MDC Alliance supporters, as well as the alleged beatings of civilians by soldiers in Harare’s high density suburbs.
“The ZHRC urges the government of Zimbabwe to put in place legal mechanisms for the establishment of the long awaited Independent Complaints Mechanism which must be set up in terms of section 210 of the Constitution,” ZHRC said. “This will allow citizens to lodge their complaints against members of the security services, especially in situations where their rights would have been violated,” they said.
Section 210 of the Constitution says: “An Act of Parliament must provide an effective and independent mechanism for receiving investigating complaints from members of the public about misconduct on the part of members of the security services, and for remedying any harm caused by such misconduct.”
Section 211 stipulates the conduct expected of defence forces, which are described as consisting of the army, airforce and other services.
It says: “The defence forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by the Constitution (section 211 (3).”
The ZHRC said it was concerned that there seemed to be no office taking responsibility over the deployment of soldiers into communities and streets, with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and government having incredibly denied their deployment during the post electoral period.
The only reports that came out were that the soldiers responsible for the massacres of seven civilians and beating up people in Harare’s high-density suburbs were “rogue elements or imposters”.