The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), one of the five independent commissions under the Constitution, has expressed its concern at the fact that no office in the country has taken responsibility for the deployment of military personnel into the streets and communities since the 2018 harmonised elections. The ZHRC also called on the government to compensate the people who were injured and families of people who died after soldiers used live bullets on protestors and bystanders.
In its statement on the 2018 harmonised elections and the post-election environment in Zimbabwe, the ZHRC says
The ZHRC also received complaints of members of the military allegedly indiscriminately harassing and beating up civilians in some suburbs in Harare. The Commission dispatched monitoring and investigative teams to assess the situation in Kuwadzana and Warren Park in Harare as well as in Chitungwiza following these reports and confirmed that indeed members of the public were being assaulted by people in military uniforms who were moving around the suburbs in military trucks.
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Of concern to the Commission is the fact that that there seems to be no office taking responsibility over the deployment of soldiers into communities and streets. On the contrary. the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the Government have incredibly denied this deployment. This poses an even bigger danger to communities as it appears that the ‘soldiers beating up civilians are not accountable to anyone.
The Commission would have expected prompt investigation and prosecution by the relevant authorities if it is true that the assailants are impostors and/or rogue elements acting without official deployment.
The ZHRC, however, welcomes the consistent calls by the incumbent President for peace and harmony in the country, and the promise to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the death of civilians on the 1st of August 2018. ZHRC awaits the setting up of the Commission of Inquiry and the conclusion of investigations. The families that lost their loved ones should be adequately compensated and/ or assisted In other ways by the State as promised.
…Given the above facts and the current unstable situation prevailing in the country, the ZHRC makes the following recommendations:
To the Zimbabwe National Army, The Commission reiterates that all army deployments must be done in terms of the laws and Constitution of Zimbabwe and all members of the Zimbabwe National Army must be accounted for and warned not to attack civilians in order to stop further harm to members of the public.
Full Text: Only The President Can Deploy Soldiers, POSA Section Police Cited Is Unconstitutional – Veritas
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