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Human Rights Activist: No Hidden Hand in Zimbabwe Protests

  • Gibbs Dube

FILE: One of the protestors Martin Jemwa sustained a head cut after he was assaulted by police using a baton stick. He was taken to a private hospital where his condition was said to be stable, Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 17, 2016. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

FILE: One of the protestors Martin Jemwa sustained a head cut after he was assaulted by police using a baton stick. He was taken to a private hospital where his condition was said to be stable, Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 17, 2016. (S. Mhofu/VOA)

Zimbabweans have been of late been staging peaceful protests in the country, which has resulted in President Robert Mugabe, senior members of the national army and some state officials, warming them that the government will take stern measures against protesters.

Since July 6th when Zimbabweans staged a massive stay away, the police have been descending heavily over protesters, mostly demanding the resignation of President Mugabe and an address to social and economic problems bedeviling the country.

Protesters say their public action is guaranteed by the Zimbabwe Constitution while the government claims that such moves are designed to denigrate the person of the president and dent the image of the country, which is failing to attract meaningful foreign direct investment.

A demonstrator reacts after anti-riot police use batons to break up a peaceful march protesting the Zimbabwe government's handling of the economy, in Harare, Aug. 3, 2016.

A demonstrator reacts after anti-riot police use batons to break up a peaceful march protesting the Zimbabwe government's handling of the economy, in Harare, Aug. 3, 2016.

Why is the government not keen to see people protesting in the streets?

Studio 7 reached Rashid Mahiya of Heal Zimbabwe Trust and Gadzira Chirumanzu, a Zanu PF activist.

Mahiya said protesters should not be brutalized by the police. “The role of the police is to provide security for citizens and not to injure citizens who are actually enjoying their democratic right to express themselves against whatever issues … The role of the police is to ensure that citizens are safe and secure and not to harm them.”

But Chirumanzu said, “The Zimbabwe Constitution allows people to demonstrate but what is shocking even the responsible authorities is the mushrooming of so many organizations that want to protest in the streets and you now wonder where all these organizations are coming from and who is pushing this agenda of protesting and who is financing all these people from their residential places into the kombis or buses for what ever it is to come and demonstrate in Harare.

“At the end of the day behind the scenes you could see that there is a hidden hand trying to push a certain agenda which at the present moment it’s not very clear.”

Pastor Evan Mawarire of #thisflag movement, Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign, some vendors and hundreds of people have been staging protests demanding an end to Zimbabwe’s current social and economic problems.

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