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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Statement on police and human rights
    Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET)
    March 12, 2007

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    The Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust is greatly perturbed by the continued clashes between the police, supporters of the opposition political parties and civic society leaders. Three weeks ago the police had running battles with MDC supporters over a rally in Highfields. Over the weekend, the high density areas of Highfields, Glen Norah, Kuwadzana, Waterfalls and Glen View were once again turned into war zones as police held running battles with leaders of the Save Zimbabwe campaign. It is reported that a number of political leaders and activists were arrested and detained at undisclosed police stations. These include Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara, Lovemore Madhuku and Tendai Biti Secretary-General of the Mutambara MDC faction.

    The unnecessary loss of life by one Gift Tandire is highly deplorable and ZIMCET once again calls upon police to exercise due caution in the discharge of their duties. The police had no justification to fire live ammunition. They have sufficient means at their disposal to control crowds no matter how rowdy, especially since there were children who were allegedly being used as human shield by the demonstrators. Teargas, water canons or even rubber bullets could have achieved better results. In the same vein the assault on police on some police officers is also condemned as this fuels the antagonism. Human life is sacrosanct and the right to life can never be abrogated.

    The undeclared curfews in the high density areas by police in areas which are not under the official rally ban are also a great cause for concern for ZIMCET. This overzealousness on the part of the law enforcement agents is highly regrettable and police should strive to uphold the basic human rights tenets at all times. People's right to movement and freedom of association are threatened by such impunity on the part of the law enforcers.

    ZIMCET calls upon all political parties to contest rulings and demands by State agents in a peaceful manner. Non-confrontational means to conflict resolution as well as sustained dialogue are more effective than trying to fight fire with fire. ZIMCET strongly urges political parties and their supporters to shun violence and seek peaceful ways to resolve misunderstandings and differences thus avoiding unnecessary loss of lives. The courts provide a course for redress and that should be exhausted before any other means are even contemplated.

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