Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) notes with grave concern the statement by Zimbabwe Minister of State Security Hon. Kembo Mohadi as published in the Chronicle of 05 May 2016 where he is quoted as having said they are willing to go to war to defend the national pledge which has been peacefully resisted by Christians in the country.
Our major concerns are that:
- The Minister’s threat for war is against unarmed and peaceful citizens who have sofar not exhibited any signs of violence or national security threat but have peacefully rejected a pledge which they argue violates their constitutional and religious freedoms;
- The Minister’s threat is an indictment to rule of law, constitutionalism and fundamental freedoms in the country as the same Constitution he claims to want to defend accords the citizens the right to petition;
- The Minister’s threat is actually a threat to all fundamental rights and freedoms in the Constitution as war brings with it death, loss of property, torture and other forms of human rights violations
- The Minister’s statement cannot be simple done away as he was addressing senior members of the police force as the National Defense College and these are people who are trained for war and who understand war;
We at Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights therefore call on the:
- Honorable Vice President responsible for Constitutional Affairs and the Honorable Vice President responsible for Policy Coordination to issue a statements clarifying if it is now government policy position to threaten unarmed and peaceful citizens who are defending their constitutional rights and freedoms with war;
- Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services and Thematic Committee on Peace and Security to bring the Minister to account over this statement and also issue a public statement on the Committees’ position regarding the matter;
- Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to investigate the matter and issue a public statement on it as well as cause the Minister to do justice to the citizens of Zimbabwe and assure the protection and promotion of rights of Christians.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights believes the citizens of Zimbabwe who are mobilizing themselves for the rejection of the National Schools Pledge are doing so peacefully and they are simple exercising their freedom to demonstrate and petition as espoused in Chapter 4 Section 59 of the Constitution. We also believe no one in Zimbabwe should be threatened, intimidated, killed, tortured or abducted for demanding administrative justice or the protection and promotion of their rights.
As patriotic Zimbabwean citizens, we stand resolutely in support of the Christians and other citizens in the country who want the national schools pledge to stop as it violates human rights as elaborated in Chapter 4 Section 60 (2) and (3) of the Constitution.
Statement by: The General Secretary
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights