The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has accused police of using violence against citizens during recent demonstrations.
Unrest rocked Harare on Wednesday and Friday last week when opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) youths their #MyZimbabwe campaign and political parties converged to push for electoral reforms.
Both demonstrations started off peacefully, but emotions boiled over when police tried to stop both marches and resorted to beating up protesters, vendors and passersby.
The ZHRC issued a strongly worded statement on Sunday, calling on the police to respect citizens’ rights.
“It is noted with great concern that police did violate the fundamental rights of the people as evidenced by facts gathered on the ground,” said ZHRC
The ZHRC is, therefore, extremely concerned about the recent violent conduct of the ZRP. The ZHRC has received complaints on allegations of police brutality and our on-going investigations have revealed unbecoming and violent conduct on the part of the police,” it added.
The constitutional body urged restraint in the use of tear smoke in public places.
“The ZHRC is also concerned by the indiscriminate tear-gassing of centres occupied by people some of whom may not be involved in the demonstration.
“This should stop and we call for due diligence and care to ensure that the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens are respected and protected,” said the commission.
A government lawyer, Terrence Hussein, however rapped ZHRC, saying its statement was premature.
“The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission should conduct its business in an open and transparent manner, inviting submissions and collecting evidence in a translucent manner,” said Hussein.
“It should not use the short-cuts of reading newspaper reports and then issuing statements. What people want is thorough investigations so that the outcomes and reports are credible and assist in the upholding of human rights,” he added