by LORRAINE MUROMO
HUMAN rights lobby groups have rapped President Emmerson Mnangagwa for denying that the country was in a crisis, warning the deepening problems would not self-correct.In a statement yesterday, the Heads of Civil Society Coalitions (HoCSC), a grouping of civil society coalitions in Zimbabwe, said dismissive responses to citizen concerns by government were worrisome.
“Developments of the last few weeks speak to a deepening crisis that is being casually approached with denialism, arrogance and further violation of human rights by government,” part of the statement read.
“We have in the past few days witnessed denialism and dismissive responses from the government, including in response to concerns raised by the South African government and the African Union Commission.
“The Zimbabwean crisis will not self-correct, and blanket denialism and diversion will simply serve to deepen existing challenges. The government remains duty-bound to ensure the welfare and security of Zimbabweans.”
Zimbabwe has been facing its worst economic crisis and human rights disaster in a decade under Mnangagwa who took over power in a November 2017 coup.
Mnangagwa’s government has vehemently denied that the country is in a crisis after the international community raised red flags over human rights abuses ahead of the July 31 protests.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was early this month forced to dispatch envoys to Harare after a social media campaign under the hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter begun trending highlighting the abuse of human rights by Mnangagwa,
Churches, human rights lobby groups, opposition parties as well as the continental group, African Union pointed that there was a crisis in the country, but Mnangagwa’s government has insisted there is no crisis and attacked Catholic bishops over their pastoral statement flagging human rights abuses in the country.
“The government’s violent and unrestrained response to the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC)’s pastoral letter of 14 August 2020 calling for an end to State-sponsored human rights violations, crackdown on dissent and corruption, induces a sense of shock,” the statement further read.
“One wonders what is untoward about the church calling out abuses, and advancing calls for peace and nation-building through inclusive dialogue. The HoCSC stands in solidarity with the church and ordinary citizens who continue to raise the call to action to solve the man-made crisis we find ourselves in.”
The human rights lobby group also raised concern over the way political prisoners were being treated by government.
“The HoCSC decry the treatment of political prisoners. Accused persons remain innocent until proven guilty, and are entitled to all pre-trial rights in terms of the Constitution.
“This includes the right to bail, the right to legal counsel of one’s choice, right to speedy resolution of legal proceedings – including bail proceedings, and the right to humane detention conditions – including access to food and social visits.
“The treatment of Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume is extra-constitutional, and is seemingly designed to discourage any form of dissent.”