UK, US express concern over Zim chaos

Britain’s Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin yesterday said she was “deeply concerned” about the deadly violence in Harare which claimed six lives on Wednesday and called on political leaders to ensure calm and restraint “at this critical moment”.

Staff Reporters/Agencies

Baldwin in a statement on Twitter also urged British citizens in Zimbabwe to check for travel alerts on the changing situation in the country.

The United States embassy also warned Americans to avoid the central business district after Wednesday’s chaos in which the military entered downtown Harare and opened fire to disperse opposition supporters who were protesting against alleged electoral fraud by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

“The political situation in Zimbabwe remains uncertain,” the embassy warned.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemned the military’s use of force on protestors and called on the ruling and the opposition political parties to maintain peace and respect human rights.

“Reports indicate that the ZDF (Zimbabwe Defence Forces) opened fire, using live bullets and wantonly brutally assaulting unarmed protesters resulting in several people sustaining injuries and some people losing their lives,” ZLHR said in a statement.

ZLHR further said while it does not condone any violent acts by members of the public or political party supporters, it believes the ZDF and the police could have handled the situation in a restrained manner without subjecting people and the media to arbitrary and unlawful acts.

United Nations secretary-general António Guterres expressed concern at the reports of violence in Harare and urged political leaders and electoral contestants to pursue any disputes through peaceful means, dialogue and in accordance with the law.

The Carter Center also called on political leaders to shun inflammatory statements which could incite further violence.

“Security forces should protect citizens and avoid disproportionate use of force. The Carter Center stands with Zimbabwe in its commitment to peace and democracy,” former US President Jimmy Carter said.

The Amnesty International called on security agencies to investigate the deaths of six protestors during their clashes with the army.

“It is unfortunate that this election has descended into bloodshed, which could have been avoided if security forces had exercised restraint against protesters. The army’s conduct should be promptly investigated, with those responsible brought to justice,” Amnesty International acting secretary-general Colm Ó Cuanacháin said.

“By using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, the army has broken the very same rule of law that they should protect. The millitarisation of the prevailing post-election environment is muzzling freedom of expression, association and assembly. People must be guaranteed their right to protest.”

Different heads of international election observer missions among them European Union, Sadc, African Union, Comesa and Commonwealth in a joint statement expressed grave concern over the post-election violence.

“We denounce the excessive use of force to quell protests and urge the police and army to exercise restraint. We urge Zec, to release the full and detailed results expeditiously, in a transparent and accountable manner. This election presents an opportunity for Zimbabwe to break the cycle of electoral contentions and post-election violence,” the observer groups said in a joint statement.

5 Comments

  1. Comment…Its a shame that the power hungry brat had threatened violence whilst campaigning if results were not in his favour. The blood of six dead is oozing from his hands. Chamisa lost the mdc selective congress against Mwanzora when he was reduced to an ordinary cardcarrying mdc supporter and lost against ED and is an ordinary citizen like Mugabe.

    1. Blame the barbaric killers who shoot unarmed civilians

  2. It is the fault of the British and their Western allies for forcing this chidembo called democracy down Zimbabwe’s throat. Actually not just Zimbabwe but the entire continent. Lives have been lost elsewhere places like Kenya DRC Nigeria because of this. When they first came they found us huddled up in our little tribal groups settling disputes the good old fashioned way. They then claimed to have civilised us. Their own system has been centuries in the making and it rests upon a technological, industrial and economic sound base. They should leave us to evolve and establish at our own pace the very same conditions that are conducive to the establishment of democracy. We were and are still used as evidenced in rural voting patterns to chieftainship, kraal headships and monarchs. Just like they allowed China to develop her own system that works for that country, same as Russia.

    1. Agree with you one hundred percent – western style democracy is the problem. But we need to generate that conversation now and debate it as a nation and come up with our own system of governance that reflects who we are as a people.. We can’t wait for the west to do it for us .. where are our intellectuals and professors.. philosphers ?? All they do is ape and mimick the west … no original thinking .. only value their ability at being able to quote the western text books that they’ve spent years memorizing … nothing original, nothing genuine… and this is where we fall apart as africans and remain weak.. Our intellectuals should lead the discource…

    2. people with your mindset are the same people who are preventing this country from growing and moving forward, we cannot blame what already happened because we cannot change it.’it is what it is’, instead of putting blame on the past and what has already happened, we should be concentrating all our energy on coming up with solutions and moving forward instead

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