Police shootings condemned

ZIMBABWE Republic Police (ZRP)’s recent shootings of unarmed civilians have been roundly condemned by civil society.

Police officers had initially had running battles with vendors and kombi drivers following a ban by the ministry of Local Government prohibiting kombis from entering the central business district (CBD).

In the mayhem, the police opened fire and in the process shot passers-by, sparking riots by the public which was demanding justice and accountability from the police.

This resulted in the police using teargas canisters and firing live bullets on unarmed civilians in a now aborted government operation meant to decongest CBD.

A total of three civilians lost their lives and many were injured while some journalists were also reportedly injured trying to cover the incident.

The public skirmishes resulting from the shootings led to the burning of cars.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (Zctu) secretary general Japhet Moyo said no lives should be lost at the hands of the police under whatever circumstances and “we urge the police to adopt humane and civilised policing strategies when dealing with the public.
“The duty of the police is to enforce the law in a civilised manner that protects life and human dignity.
?“The use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians is the worst form of policing that should not be tolerated.
“Such bad policing instigates violence as the public is forced take the law into their own hands seeking justice denied, when the protecting authority turns cannibal.

“We urge the responsible authorities to swiftly institute investigations into the shootings and ensure that the responsible police officer(s) is brought to book. The police must also make a public apology for the unfortunate act.”

Moyo urged the State and police authorities to desist from archaic governance and policing.
“At the same time the Zctu urges citizens to demand their rights and good governance from authorities.”

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) director Okay Machisa said such an incident, while it may appear isolated, points to the urgent need to reform the country's law enforcement institutions in line with human rights tenets and human dignity.

“While ZimRights welcomes the apology from Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, there is no substitute for a thorough investigation, censure of the police details involved and compensation for the families of both the deceased and injured persons,” said Machisa.

Heal Zimbabwe said it perceives such act of barbarism as sad and uncalled for especially coming from law enforcers.
“This incident clearly indicates that community members and citizens are not safe especially from the police who are supposed to protect them.

“Heal Zimbabwe also perceive the attack on journalists as a reversal of democratic rights provided for in the constitution under section 61 which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

“We implore the Government under the ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing, the police and Harare City Council to find peaceful ways of resolving the impasse emanating from the ban of kombis.

“The organisation further calls for justice to be served and ensure that the culprits responsible for the killings are arrested and brought before the courts.

“Heal Zimbabwe in line with section 210 of the constitution calls for the government with immediate effect to set up an Independent Complaints Mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from members of the public about the misconduct on the part of members of the security services, and for remedying any harm caused by such misconduct.

“Heal Zimbabwe notes that if such acts of aggression continue unabated, they threaten peace, social cohesion and cast doubt on the eligibility of the State to protect its own citizens.”

PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said repression, police brutality and the use of force, have no place in a modern democracy.
“Sadly for Zimbabwe the opposite is true; Zanu PF has taught the native to be violent in order to resolve social issues.
“Today yet another dark cloud hangs over our beloved city; we mourn departed innocent souls killed in cold blood by the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

“The deaths are a result of a conflict emanating from the failure to deal with a peripheral issue of congestion,” said Mafume.
Mafume said as dysfunctional as it is, the transport system in Harare is far away from being a disaster therefore deploying trigger-happy of police officers armed to the teeth was not only premature but reckless.

“Those responsible for the move must be brought to book, they must be held accountable, the time for playing games with people's lives must come to an end.”

He added that an MDC Alliance government will develop an urban transport system including a metro system for Bulawayo and Harare.
“The defining status quo of modern cities is the development of a fast, environmentally clean, urban commuter network commonly known as the Tube or the Metro. The Gautrain across the border is also another good example.

“We suggests a modern metro-system for all major cities with priority being given to Chitungwiza, Harare, Norton, Ruwa, - Network and the Pumula-Llewellyn — Cement Side — Bulawayo — Network,” said Mafume.


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