By Lloyd Takawira
AS the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has released a damning report indicating that the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) solders and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) continue to be the biggest perpetrators of human rights violations in the country.
According to the report for the month of January 2021 in possession of Bustop TV, ZPP reported that the ZRP was responsible for 45.05 per cent of the 271 human rights violations in that were recorded in January 2021 up from 22.61 in December, while the soldiers accounted for 26.07 per cent of human rights violations.
“ZPP documented 101 cases of harassment, 44 cases of assault, and 19 unlawful arrests, most of which are attributable to the enforcement of the lockdown regulations. It is on this basis that January was a false start to 2021, a year that was hoped to provide a break from the turmoil of 2020,” reads the report.
Zimbabwean Peace Project report said that most of the human rights violations by the police and the army are done in the name of enforcing lockdown measures.
The report said ,“The police and the army are on the frontline of enforcing the lockdown and while doing that, they have harassed, assaulted and illegally detained citizens”.
The report also claimed that law enforcement agencies are demanding bribes from citizen’s upon arresting them for breaking lockdown measures .
“ ZPP recorded countrywide incidents where the state security agents demanded bribes in exchange for the freedom to those they would have arrested. For example, on January 5, police at Murombedzi Growth Point in Zvimba West arrested and assaulted villagers who were at the rural shopping center before demanding bribes. The victims were accused of not properly wearing face masks and the villagers were only released after paying between US$2.00 and US$3.00 each,” ZPP reported.
According to a survey by Bustop TV News, 1 in 5 citizen’s interviewed allege they had paid a bribe to the police upon being arrested after the police would have demanded cash ranging from US$5 to US$20.
Both the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army have repeatedly refuted the allegations advising those with complaints to report to the police.
Just recently, ZRP reported via their twitter that they had arrested a Chitugwiza man (23) for allegedly trying to bribe the police by giving them US$5 to facilitate the release of his girlfriend who had bee arrested for contravening lockdown measures.
They have however been met with a backlash from twimbos who are reflecting on incidents that were they have been forced bribe the police for free passage or to secure their release after being arrested for violating lockdown regulations.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) a non governmental organization that oversees the observance of human rights in the country has recorded a high number of human rights violations perpetrated by the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police over the past years