File photo: Philimon Bulawayo
File photo: Philimon Bulawayo

Police brutality in spotlight at Zim court

By Christopher Mahove Time of article published Jan 11, 2016

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Harare - The heavyhandedness of the Zimbabwean police will come under the spotlight on Wednesday when the country’s Constitutional Court hears a case in which the executive director of Heal Zimbabwe Trust, Rashid Mahiya, is seeking an order compelling the government to implement Section 210 of the Constitution which provides for the setting up of an independent body to deal with complaints against the police.

In the case, Mahiya is citing the Minister of Justice, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who also doubles up as the vice president of the country, as a respondent along with several others.

In his heads of argument, Mahiya said the Zimbabwe government’s failure to enact the law as provided for in the country’s constitution was a violation of his rights to equal protection and benefit under the law as defined by Section 56 (1) of the Constitution.

Section 210 of the Constitution states: “An Act of Parliament must provide an effective and independent mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from members of the public about misconduct on the part of members of the security services [i.e. the police service, the defence forces, the state intelligence services and the prisons and correctional service], and for remedying any harm caused by such misconduct.”

The case comes at a time when there has been concern among citizens over the conduct of the police and other security personnel, who have reportedly been using violence to curtail civil liberties, especially the right to demonstrate.

There has been an increase in the number of civil demonstrations, with the latest being the protests by teachers who were not happy with the delay in the payment of their December salaries and the non-payment of bonuses, as well as the protests by public transport operators who were protesting the unilateral increase in levies.

Both demonstrations were violently crushed by the police, with one person reportedly killed in the skirmishes in Chitungwiza.

African News Agency

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