Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has condemned the violence and destruction that happened during last week’s so-called stayaway.
In a statement last week, the ZHRC said organisers of the demonstrations should take responsibility of their actions.
“Experience has taught us that criminal and rogue elements of society will always take advantage of public demonstrations and protests and proceed to loot, destroy property and even cause bodily harm to innocent bystanders,” reads part of ZHRC statement.
“The Commission therefore does not condone the violence that has characterised previous and current demonstrations. Organisers of demonstrations must therefore take full responsibility for their decisions and actions so that the enjoyment of their rights is not in violation of the rights of others. Equally worrying is the abuse of social media platforms by demonstrators and other faceless characters to threaten and intimidate people as well as distort facts to achieve their ulterior motives, in the process causing alarm and despondency amongst the citizens.”
The Commission also called for dialogue among stakeholders to find solutions to challenges facing the nation.
“The ZHRC therefore calls upon Government to take the lead in convening a platform for national dialogue with partners in all sectors including captains of industry, labour unions, independent commissions, civil society, the opposition and ordinary citizens in order to find lasting solutions to the prevailing economic challenges to ensure respect and observance of human rights and promote peace and security in the country,” ZHRC added.
The Commission added that while the Constitution provided for the right to demonstrate that right was not absolute.
“The Commission has also noted the decision by a number of organisations and individual members of society to demonstrate and petition as a way of communicating their frustrations and demanding answers from the Government of Zimbabwe as a duty bearer.
“The frustrations are understandable, and the right to demonstrate is provided for and protected under Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“The ZHRC takes this opportunity to emphasise that this provision protects the right, but also gives the responsibility to the demonstrators to respect the right of others by demonstrating peacefully,” ZHRC added in the statement.