CIZC comment: state disregards right to protest

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CIZC) notes with great concern government’s response to the wave of protests that have rocked the country as citizens protested over the continued economic meltdown in the country.

Source: CIZC comment: state disregards right to protest – The Zimbabwean 28.07.2016

Instead of engaging and listening to the disgruntled citizens, government has resorted to the use of force to thwart genuine protests by unarmed civilians.

The country has since the beginning of the protests witnessed a series of rights violations as a result of police brutality against protestors yet Section 59 of the constitution guarantees the right to protest peacefully.

Government officials have also adopted a militant approach and issued stern warnings against the genuine protestors, who as has always been the case, have come to be labeled as agents of regime change agenda.

The ruling party, Zanu (PF) has also splashed millions of taxpayers’ money on solidarity events and counter protests at a time about 4 million people are facing starvation in Zimbabwe.

What has come out clearly is the fact that the government is not moved by the dire situation in the country and officials are focused on maintaining political power at the expense of citizens’ well-being.

The lust for political power has led government and law enforcement agents into disregarding fundamental rights such as the right to protest ad freedom of expression and association.

CIZC also notes with concern the stern warnings issued by President Robert Mugabe to dissenting voices in his address to Zanu (PF) supporters in Harare yesterday, July 27, 2016.

President Robert Mugabe warned #This Flag leader, Pastor Evan Mawarire and other sections of the church community that they will face the music for encouraging protests in the country.

CIZC views the current wave of protests as genuine actions by disgruntled citizens as it has become quite evident that government has failed to revive the economy while political heavyweights are busy looting national resources for personalaggrandizement.

Our deepest fear is that the remarks by President Robert Mugabe have the potential to fuel hatred and violence against citizens who choose to differ with the government of the day.

Zanu (PF) supporters have over the years operated with so much impunity due to the partisan conduct of our law enforcement agents and the remarks by the Head of State and Government leaves us in fear of violence being perpetrated against perceived opponents of the regime.

Zimbabwe has a history of political violence largely stemming from reckless political statements and the recent remarks by the Head of State and Government have the potential to fuel unrest in the country.

Government needs to listen to the concerns of citizens and address issues being raised rather than try to use military means to silence voices calling for the revival of the economy.

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