Respect human rights: Court reprimands security forces drunk on power

Since the beginning of the 21-day lockdown a fortnight ago, there has been a spike in cases of brutality allegedly perpetrated by security forces.

By Annegrett Dube

In one such case, Lucia Masvondo was allegedly assaulted by security forces as she cooked on an open fire outside her house.

Besides being assaulted, Masvondo said she was unaware of where the police officers who assaulted her were coming from and there was a risk they may have been carrying the coronavirus pathogens when they went to her home.

In another case, Tendai Mtombeni fractured his hand and passed out following a similar assault and only came to the following day.

With the spiralling cases, the courts were forced to intervene, with the High Court on Tuesday granting an interim order that the police and army, who are enforcing adherence to lockdown regulations, should respect human rights.

Masvondo of Karoi, represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), applied to The High Court seeking an order overturning the lockdown order.

The lawsuit also challenged the lack of social distancing by the lockdown enforcers alleging that they posed a risk to themselves and members of the public.

ZLHR, who were representing Masvondo in the matter, said: “The case challenges torture, inhumane and degrading conduct, disrespect of dignity and violation of the constitution by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and [the] army who invaded Masvondo’s home, assaulted her and set dogs on her.

“It also challenges non compliance with social distancing by ZRP.”

ZLHR filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court last Thursday, after Masvondo was bitten by dogs belonging to the security forces while she was cooking in her yard in the evening.

Security forces have been accused of human rights violations by various pressure groups since the beginning of the lockdown.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum says it has documented at least 51 assault cases involving security agents, with most of the cases recorded in urban areas.

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  1. These ZANU PF coup dogs have no regard for human life!

  2. Frederick Shumba

    Dear President Munangagwa
    I am short of words with the level of police brutality in our nation. I fail to understand why this is so. When I was growing up we ran to the police for help and now we run away from them. I used to give police officers fee transport each time I so them waiting for transport by the road but to be honest this time even if its raining I won’t assist a police officer unless I know them personally. The major challenge your government is ignoring it that the world has become a global village and before the report gets to your office, it will be all over social media. I know Zimbabweans are peace loving people but I am deeply disturbed by the behaviour of our police force. We haven’t forgotten how they used to corruptly, squeeze us of money on the roads and to your credit you stopped it. Please help us get some international dignity by stopping this inhuman madness perpetrated by the state. Why are they harming innocent people? Why are they so unprofessional, when they are supposed to be part of our justice system? Please, Mr President, I know yo are and you can do better that this. Please act now.

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