Media Statement|On Saturday 28 February 2020, Zimbabwe Human Rights Associations (ZimRights) members in Chitungwiza witnessed disturbing incidences of violence which resulted in the destruction of property and seven arrests and assaults of civilians by the Zimbabwe Republic Police. ZimRights spoke to four victims of police brutality, including one who was very critical.
ZimRights notes with concern that this violence was triggered by increasing hate speech from a group calling itself Concerned Citizens Forum, which over the years has been targeting civil society organisations in an anti-rights crusade. Reports from ZimRights community monitors confirm that Concerned Citizens Forum last week started circulating posters on social media threatening to invade the homes of opposition leaders whom it accused of calling for sanctions and causing suffering on Zimbabweans. In a pre-emptive act, opposition youths moved to offer protection to their targeted leaders, leading to violent scenes that were recorded in Chitungwiza.
ZimRights is concerned with these developments upon a population that is carrying an overwhelming economic burden and calls on Concerned Citizen Forum to stop its hate speech which is threatening to trigger anarchy in the country. Real concerned citizens know the sources of their suffering and are doing their best to remain patient in the face of provocative elements.
Zimrights further notes with concern, the police’s heavy-handed response of effecting random beatings of residents, which has further stoked the already simmering tensions.
Zimrights continues to urge the state security agents to exercise restraint and to ensure the safety of people in accordance with their mandate
ZimRights notes that the developments in Chitungwiza are evidence of the tensions in the country which have reached frightening levels. Already, thousands of Zimbabweans are on a stampede to leave the country as the situation looks as hopeless as ever. It thus becomes imperative on the leadership of Zimbabwe to find lasting solution to the current challenges before the situation gets out of control.
ZimRights calls on the leadership of Zimbabwe to urgently begin genuine and inclusive dialogue to resolve the country’s challenges.
ZimRights, a broad grassroots movement of ordinary people across Zimbabwe, remains ready to support authentic dialogue that changes the situation of ordinary people. Equally so, ZimRights will radically stand in opposition of private entities, political parties and individuals who seek an elite pact of leaders without an inclusive transformative agenda.
ZimRights membership across the country will continue to monitor the situation in the hope that a peaceful solution will be found as soon as possible before the country is set ablaze.
Issued by the ZimRights Information Department
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