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Police 'Brutality' Shocks MDC-T Activists As Political Violence Grips Zimbabwe

FILE: MDC supporters at a rally in Bulawayo … Human rights monitors are warning of an upsurge in political violence in Zimbabwe ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Members of the Movement for Democratic Change led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai say they suffered in the hands of police and suspected Zanu PF activists, who detained and beat them up following a nationwide protests recently over lack of electoral reforms in Zimbabwe ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Some of the severely tortured activists are still recovering in hospitals amid fears that the police have allowed Zanu PF activists to work with them to suppress any dissent against President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Tsvangirai and some top MDC-T officials met with some of the brutalized activists, including Ostallas Gift Siziba, Lennon Muzanenhambo, Glenview North Member of Parliament Fani Munengami, Ronia Bunjira and Kerina Gweshe Dhewa.

They all told the MDC-T officials that they were tortured by the police, operatives of the Central Intelligence Organization and suspected members of the police.

Protesters are urging Mr. Mugabe to step down for allegedly failing to properly run the southern African nation.

Some of the activists told VOA Studio 7 that they have deserted their homes because of a resurgence in politically-motivated violence.

At the same time, some members of former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First party in Guruve, Mashonaland Central province, were Sunday attacked by axe-wielding ruling party youth in what is widely seen as an upsurge in cases of politically-motivated violence ahead of the 2018 polls.

Zanu PF has indicated that it will field President Mugabe, who will be 94 in 2018, in the presidential election.

Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has strongly condemned the unwarranted attack on the people and the country’s Constitution by the police commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri.

“Chihuri last Friday at a meeting on Public Order and Security Act (Posa), vowed to crush any peaceful demonstrations staged against Robert Mugabe’s misrule and the citizens’ demands for key electoral reforms before the 2018 elections.

“The meeting was attended by officers commanding police districts and provinces. What we find shocking is that Chihuri has chosen to declare war on innocent people and disregard the country’s Constitution. As the PDP we note that Chihuri has decided to replace Saviour Kasukuwere as Zanu PF’s political commissar.”

However, the party urged him “to remove his police uniform and join Zanu PF structures fulltime as it is wrong and unconstitutional for him to shield behind the police force and issue out unguided political statements.

“His utterances are clearly from a factional Zanu PF member who masquerades as the country’s top cop while forgetting that his constitutional mandate is to serve every Zimbabwean in a non-partisan manner and without bias. Instead of ensuring that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is protecting the people of Zimbabwe, Chihuri has instead turned the ZRP into an extension of Zanu PF’s security department.”

PDP said Chihuri should be aware that peaceful demonstrations are a right to every Zimbabwean as clearly defined in the Constitution.

“The correct facts on the ground are that it is instead the police that are using brute force to quell peaceful and lawful demonstrations. Unfortunately, hundreds of law-abiding protesters have been injured in the process due to the police’s brutality and terror campaign while an even higher number have been remanded in custody.

“The unprofessionalism and abuse of the country’s Constitution by the police was one of the issues raised at the High Court today, when Justice David Mangota, expressed anger over the continued illegal detention of Linda Masarira.”

The party further noted that it was regrettable that Chihuri wants to allegedly unleash terror on peaceful civilians whose only crime is the demand for Zanu PF to respect the country’s constitution and provide jobs.

“To address the issues of violence, fear and impunity, the PDP proposes the independence of institutions that protect the security of the person, the rule of law and the judiciary. Some of these institutions are; the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Human Rights Commission, the Media Commission, the Gender Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the ZRP.”

Chihuri was not available for comment.