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Concerned Zimbabwean Citizens Abroad
The President of Zimbabwe (Mr. ED Mnangagwa) c/o The Zimbabwe High Commission Canberra
RE: Stop the brutalisation of civilians by the army and police.
As concerned citizens of Zimbabwe in Australia, in solidarity with all peace loving Zimbabweans across the globe and those on the ground at home, we hereby wish to strongly voice our displeasure at the breakdown of the rule of law and the continued persecution and brutalisation of civilians by the police and the military in our country.
People have been peacefully protesting against the high cost of living. However, your government has responded with brutal force to the recent industrial action following your announcement of a fuel price increase of over 150%. The army and armed police have gone house to house in Harare, Bulawayo and other cities, beating, raping and killing innocent people. It is sickening to see that people are being assaulted and killed by the very same forces that should be protecting them. This amounts to crimes against humanity being committed under your watch.
Many people were shot in cold blood, with at least 15 dead and there is reasonable suspicion that some of the people who remain unaccounted for have been murdered. Harassment and violence on civilians has continued, with at least 23 women and children reportedly being raped and others are still nursing horrific injuries. Some of those who spoke to the media about the rape have been followed up and further harassed.
When challenged about the violence officials from your government have stated that the victims should go and report to the police, a directive that has seen them being arrested and falsely accused of participating in the protests.
Shutting down the internet and access to social media during mass stay away called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions from 14 to 16 January 2019, allowed the army and police to commit horrendous atrocities under the shroud of secrecy.
It is shameful that you and your government continue to deny all evidence of violence by your forces. We wonder whether, whether as Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces you are still in charge; as such callous heavy handedness does not make sense at all.
The hopes that people carried when you took over from Robert Mugabe have been shattered and have been replaced by dismay, anger and utter revulsion.
We strongly condemn in no uncertain terms, the continued use of the so called bond notes as legal tender; a development which has brought the country to its lowest ebb. This continues to put the majority of Zimbabweans at risk and it is their democratic right to peacefully engage in civil action. Public servants continue to be paid a pittance yet they are
There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” – Martin Luther King Jnr
Concerned Zimbabwean Citizens Abroad
still expected to work as normal. Your government does not care that these are people with families to look after.
Your ZANU PF party officials and those around you continue to live in opulence while the rest of the population is living in abject poverty and squalor.
In view of the above and many other issues, too numerous to detail here, we as
Zimbabwean citizens, unequivocally demand that you Mr. President, do the following:
- Immediately remove the army from the streets and confine them to their barracks as we are not in a state of war.
- Stop the police and state security agents from arbitrarily beating up, arresting and detaining people and from using rape as an instrument of torture.
- Investigate and prosecute all incidents of violence against civilians by the Army and Police and punish the culprits not the victims.
- Free those detained on trumped up charges, including opposition members of parliament who are being used as scapegoats.
- Restore all the basic freedoms as enshrined in the new constitution and allow free democratic space for all citizens.
- Implement the nature and spirit of the new constitution to allow people in the diaspora to participate in the electoral process.
- Ensure that all workers are duly paid and on time every month and stop the abuse of state resources.
- Repeal all draconian legislation which curtails people’s basic freedoms.
- Engage all parties in dialogue and pave the way to socio-political and economic reforms that will improve the quality of life for all Zimbabweans.
- Ensure that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ in principle by stamping out corruption and designing policies that promote peace and boost investor confidence.
On behalf of
The Concerned Zimbabwean Citizens Abroad
IPThere comes a time when silence is betrayal.” – Martin Luther King Jnr