ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Thursday 30 September 2021 petitioned Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to furnish the human rights organisation with a written undertaking in which law enforcement agents shall be directed to desist from the prevalent practice of throwing teargas canisters into
loaded public transportation vehicles.
In the letter written by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe, ZLHR told Matanga that the indiscriminate throwing of teargas canisters into loaded public transport vehicles amounts to excessive and unjustifiable use of force by ZRP members and amounts to a violation of the passengers right to human dignity and the right to personal security as provided for in Section 51 and Section 52 of the Constitution.
ZLHR said its concern and request follows the recent circulation on social media of a video, where ZRP members allegedly threw teargas canisters into a Mulaudzi bus, which was carrying passengers.
In the video, passengers could be seen stampeding and scurrying to escape the teargas fumes which had engulfed the bus and it was clear from the video that some of the victims are young children, who were clearly choking from the teargas fumes.
The lawyers also advised Matanga that they are in the process of preparing a court application for the ZRP members’ conduct in question to be declared a violation of passengers’ fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution and for an order prohibiting such conduct.