ZimRights blasts police, Zanu PF group over Chitungwiza violence
By Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has condemned acts of state brutality visited upon MDC supporters in Chitungwiza weekend saying this was open provocation by authorities on a population that has for long bottled up its anger against state excesses.
The rights group blamed the skirmishes on a Zanu PF aligned pressure – Concerned Citizen Forum – which had issued alarming statements its members would besiege MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s Gutu home, those of party vice president Tendai Biti and Job Sikhala in Harare and Chitungwiza.
Following the threats, MDC youths moved to offer protection to their targeted leaders, leading to violent scenes that rocked the dormitory town.
Some 11 MDC youths were arrested and charged with public violence.
In a statement Tuesday, ZimRights said it was concerned the acts of brutality were visited upon a population that is carrying an overwhelming economic burden.
The group further called on Concerned Citizen Forum to “stop its hate speech which is threatening to trigger anarchy in the country”.
“Real concerned citizens know the sources of their suffering and are doing their best to remain patient in the face of provocative elements,” said the prominent rights defender.
“Zimrights further notes with concern, the police’s heavy-handed response of effecting random beatings of residents, which has further stoked the already simmering tensions.
“Zimrights continues to urge the state security agents to exercise restraint and to ensure the safety of people in accordance with their mandate.”
The rights group said developments in the politically volatile town were evidence of simmering tensions in the country which had reached frightening levels.
The group called on Zimbabwean politicians to urgently begin genuine and inclusive dialogue to resolve the country’s challenges.