On Wednesday 17 August 2016 Honorable MP Nelson Chamisa tabled a very important Motion in the Parliament of Zimbabwe which seek to deal with and address issues of police brutality and violation of basic and fundamental human rights especially during peaceful protests.
Hon. Chamisa’s Motion sought among other issues to:
- Ask the Minister of Home Affairs to investigate the conduct of the police and report to Parliament within the shortest possible time.
- Ask the Minister of Home Affairs to issue a public apology in the context of that investigation for the untoward conduct of some of the police officers.
- Immediately implement a training programme for our police to equip them with the human rights curriculum as is required by the Constitution and the statutes of our country.
- To put in place an Act of Parliament setting up an independent complaints mechanism for members of the public to report cases of such abuses as contemplated by Section 210 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
- Parliament to set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the conduct.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights wishes to reiterate the importance of the demands of this Motion and applaud Hon. Chamisa for having stood up for basic human rights at a time when repression and police brutality during peaceful protests is rampant.
Our view is that if the demands of the Motion are seriously taken into consideration, it will assist to:
- Build citizen confidence and trust that the government leadership is concerned about human rights and is committed to ensuring the enjoyment of fundamental Constitutional rights and freedoms as espoused in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe;
- Quell the growing citizen – state and citizen – police animosity that has resulted due to the unbecoming rights violating behavior of the police in the past months and thus foster an environment of tolerance, dialogue, reconciliation and peace;
- Remind the police that they exist to protect and promote rights not to crush and suppress them;
- Give the citizens a voice to be heard in ensuring administrative justice as enshrined in Section 68 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
As an independent human rights watchdog existing to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe, we therefore encourage the Minister of Home Affairs, the Cabinet and the Parliament of Zimbabwe to take this Motion seriously and implement its recommendations for the betterment of human rights in Zimbabwe.
The General Secretary