Police brutality a heavy stain on ‘Second Republic’

THE manner in which the police — armed with truncheons, tear smoke canisters and water cannons — brutally put down demonstrations by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Thursday, is a clear reminder that Zimbabwe is still under an authoritarian regime that does not take kindly to dissenting voices.

Editorial

Is it not a universal right and hallmark of all civilised societies to protest in a peaceful manner? Yet, this has never been the case in Zimbabwe. We have no doubt that the brutal attack on peaceful demonstrators is part and parcel of the legacy of former President Robert Mugabe. However, this seems to be stretching into the so-called “Second Republic” under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Refusing people the right to a peaceful protest — after a previous protest was brutally put down with the killing of seven civilians and many others injured in the mix — may be an indicator that Zimbabwe is not yet ready to be part of the family of nations.

Clearly, there was really no need for the police to bar the ZCTU demonstration, arrest their officials and members when they had planned to protest against the introduction of a new 2% tax on electronic transfers.

It is regrettable that Zimbabwe has slowly been reduced into a police State over the past years, and it had been citizens’ hope that since Mnangagwa had promised a “new era”, this would extend to the conduct of the arms of the State, including the police.

We all know the claim that the demonstration was barred for fears that it could trigger a fresh cholera outbreak was just a ruse, given Zanu PF has been holding rallies in the past few weeks.

The real reason was to make sure that there is no publicly expressed dissent, which is not in the best interests of the new regime at a time when indications on the ground are that the powers that be seem clueless on what to do to arrest the economic free-fall.

Several gatherings have been successfully held in the country, and ironically, the police will tomorrow hold its funfair at the Borrowdale Race Course and at Morris Depot in the same environment where fear of a cholera outbreak is being claimed. We are not sure if the police, at its gatherings, is exempt from cholera infection by some law.

We couldn’t agree more with MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa that the country is, indeed, sliding back into the Mugabe era, which was characterised by brutal repressions of civil liberties and police heavy handedness.

We call on the authorities to be real if they are to be taken seriously, otherwise citizens do not want any indications of Mugabe-ism anymore!

10 Comments

  1. Folly to always, over-analyse, peharps blindly emotional,some of these developments.Surely,nothing unusually unusual about Zim police confronting or managing potentially explosive situations threatening public safety and order.It happens the worldover,including in the so-called democratic establishments

    1. this doesnt make police brutally right. police must stop brutalising people as long as they act within the law.

    2. Democracies permit protest marches to take place, the police stand by in case of trouble.

    3. Which democratic nation have banned peaceful demonstrations?

    4. Do you know what public safety is? Is it the same as killing 7 citizens in cold blood in the CBD. One day their bullet will hit you or your relative and your little brain might just start operating.

  2. robwai tibvirei apa. Zvema demonstration zvakazoshanda rini? Muchi demonstratera ani? Mtuli wakadzosa bond zvokuti kana dembare ikakumbira manotes hayi relegetwi. Pamberi na vamtuli mamoney changer achainda kumusha chete gore rino kuti ndiwo ariku demostrator?

  3. Robwai tibvirei apa. Zvema demonstration zvakazoshanda rini? Muchi demonstratera ani? Mtuli wakadzosa bond zvokuti kana dembare ikakumbira manotes hayi relegetwi. Pamberi na vaMtuli mamoney changer achainda kumusha chete gore rino. Ndiwo ariku demostrator?

  4. When President Mnangagwa promised to hold free, fair and credible elections soon after the November 2017 coup but pointedly refused to implement even one democratic reforms to make this possible it was clear the “new era, new dispensation, etc.” were all catchy phrases meant to deceive the naïve and gullible!

    President Mnangagwa and his junta thugs were the ones behind most of the corruption, vote rigging and lawlessness throughout Mugabe’s years as Zanu PF top dog. It was really naïve for anyone to believe that the replacement of Mugabe with his chief enforcer, Mnangagwa, will transform the Zanu PF dictatorship into a democratic party. Very naïve, indeed!

    When Zanu PF blatantly rigged the 30 July 2018 elections, that should have opened the eyes of even the political sloths!

  5. Can someone tell whether the demos were granted permission by the police to go ahead. just vasking

  6. How pathetically ignorant are the ‘powers that be’ not to realise that more attention is drawn to the banning of a demonstration than it is to the demonstration itself.

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