FOR a country that has been left to wallow in the wilderness by the community of nations after being declared a pariah State, the Zimbabwe government needs to start working really hard to convince the world that it is mending its tarnished image, especially as far as the issue of human rights is concerned.
And incidents such as the recent arrest of personnel working for non-governmental organisations over allegations of plotting to topple the government of Zimbabwe are the kind of behaviour least expected of a nation trying to spruce up its image.
These arrests simply serve to prove to the world out there that the present government is not very much different from that of former President Robert Mugabe. Why is our new government so eager to arrest people at the flimsiest of reasons?
Because this is the time to mend and build bridges, our government should fight the temptation to act heavy-handedly each time it is provoked. Acting at the spur of the moment only serves to create doubts in the minds of the international community on whether or not the country is serious in upholding the rule of law by respecting human rights.
Arresting individuals without proof that they have committed a crime is not only costly for the country, but government is, in fact, shooting self in the foot because such blips and blunders only help to rekindle bad memories of our old past.
Not so long ago, in February this year, we all ended up being embarrassed when the International Trade Union Confederation (ITU)-Africa secretary-general, Kwasi Adu Amankwa, was dragged out of his hotel room in Harare by State security agents, held incommunicado for 11 hours without charge, before he was released.
Such unnecessary boobs should be avoided at all costs if people are to respect us out there. We can bet our very last dollar that the recently arrested individuals will be released after thousands of taxpayers’ monies have been wasted over a wild goose chase.
As recent as March this year, a High Court judge pointed out that the State should bring to court cases with concrete evidence after he had dismissed a fraud case against businessman Wicknell Chivayo.
In dismissing the case, the judge said: “…apart from being suggestive of a skirmish, a mere witch-hunt and fishing expedition tells more of a hidden hand or mala fides intention in the institution of the
criminal proceedings brought about by the State in the circumstances.”
It is high time government spared us any more embarrassments.