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Government hits back at human rights abuses claims

The Zimbabwean Government has hit back at the condemnation by several heads of delegations who chastises Zimbabwe for human rights abuses following last week’s demonstrations in Harare, accusing the western countries of inciting partisanship and promoting unconstitutionalism in the country.

In a statement yesterday, Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting services, Nick Mangwana said the government was surprised by the “judgemental attitude” demonstrated by the foreign missions in their condemnation of excessive use of force by the police on what he called illegal demonstrations, saying the missions demonstrated partisanship.

“The Government is taken aback by the intrusive and judgemental attitude displayed by the missions and shocking partisanship informing the joint statement with respect to the Zimbabwe situation,” Nick Mangwana said.

He defended the high court decision to uphold a police prohibition order, saying the joint statement fails to acknowledge that the judgement was well considered.

He went on to say the judgement rendered the demonstrations by the MDC Alliance illegal.

The Government said it was disappointed that the Missions served Zimbabwe with a statement that fails to acknowledge the position of the law and ignores the upholding of the constitution.

The statement follows a joint statement by 11 western countries condemning calling on the Zimbabwe government to stop “intimidation, harassment and physical attacks on human rights defenders.”

The statement was issued jointly by France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom and the Heads of Mission of Australia, Canada and the United States of America.

The  Government’s response was met with condemnation by Zimbabweans.

Prominent Political commentator, Alex Magaisa, said  the Zimbabwean government ignored pertinent issues raised by the heads of delegation.

“This is quite a daft, disingenuous & amateurish statement which ignores pertinent issues raised by the EU & others: namely, violence against citizens, disproportionate force by the security services, attacks on human rights defenders & the need to hold perpetrators to account,” he said.

In their statement, the Missions called on the Zimbabwean Government to uphold its constitution by guaranteeing human rights, including that of protesting.

“The Heads of Mission call on the authorities to respect the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression as well as to peaceful protest, and urge all political party leaders and supporters to abstain from threats and incitement to violence as well as acts of violence or vandalism,” the joint statement read.

Last week, police descended heavily on protesters in Harare, indiscriminately bashing them with batons and spraying water cannons.

They successfully managed to quash the demonstration which had been banned by the police, a decision that was upheld by the courts.

This put Zimbabwe back on the spotlight although in bad light, following promises of a reformed police force after President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power.

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