The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) says it is deeply concerned with continued human rights violations under the country’s current lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.
In a statement, the ZCA said the recent brutal attack on women by some state security agents may result in serious conflicts in the country if it remains unchecked.
“We continue to note with concern the brutal arrest and torture of two sisters in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo (Ntombizodwa and Nokuthula Mpofu) by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in April. The subsequent abduction, torture and alleged sexually abuse of Member of Parliament, Joana Mamombe, and two political activists Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri, this past week. ZCA calls for urgent investigation and prosecution of perpetrators who have committed these acts of violence that have dehumanized these women and violated their constitutional rights.
“We note with concern that ZRP police are being implicated in both cases where in the initial case the police have been arrested on the allegations while in the second case the violated women claim that they were abducted from a police station.”
The ZCA urged the police to enforce the lockdown without violating human rights and to urgently investigate and bring to book the people who abducted the MP and the two activists.
“As churches we are concerned that more citizens now live in fear and trauma especially after the indefinite extension of the lockdown. We now have increasing cases of citizens that need psychosocial support from the churches. This is also occurring at a time when there is an increase in the reports of domestic violence and sexual gender-based violence against women and children in the country due to the covid-19 national lockdown.”
The ZCA further noted that such acts also “violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the SADC protocol on Gender and Development which spells out that no person should be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
“We call upon the Chapter 12 institutions (National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and Zimbabwe Gender Commission) to urgently investigate and protect citizens against abuse.”
The brutalized Cowdray Park residents claim that they were looking for food at a local shopping mall when they were arrested and repeatedly beaten up by police, who accused them o breaking lockdown regulations. The matter has now been taken to court.
On the other hand, Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova claim that they were arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station before they were seized by suspected state security agents.
They were allegedly tortured and sexually abused before they were dumped in Buhera South, about 80 kilometers away from Harare. Police have dissociated themselves from the arrests and subsequent brutalization of the three MDC activists.