Ziyambi says the State cannot stand aside while civilians are killing police


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Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said yesterday while people enjoyed freedoms under the constitution there is nowhere in the world where you will find a reasonable State standing aside when civilians are attacking and killing policemen.

He was responding to a question from Harare East legislator Tendai Biti who wanted to know whether it is now government policy to allow gross attack and gross abuse of human rights, including rape, denial of legal access, mass trials, mass displacements and destruction of people’s homes.

Ziyambi said the government is committed to constitutionalism but what is of concern to the government is the attack on innocent people, attack on people’s businesses, attack on people who were going about doing their business when the so called protesters barricaded roads and prevented people from doing their day to day activities.

“Our Constitution is very clear on freedom of movement, freedom of information and association. All those freedoms are enshrined in our constitution, but what we saw even on property rights when these demonstrations were happening, they went to the extent of attacking police officers in police stations and killing them. There is nowhere in the world where you will find a reasonable State standing aside when civilians are attacking and killing policemen,” he said.

Q&A

HON. BITI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Zimbabwean Constitution obliges Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe to respect the principles of the rule of law.  In light of the events that took place in our country with effect from the 12th January 2019, is it now Government policy that it allows gross attack and gross abuse of human rights that includes rape of women, denial of legal access to those that are in custody, mass trials, mass displacements, destruction of people’s homes, devious assaults on people and that includes the killings and murders of our citizens.  Hon. Minister Sir, is that now Government policy – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Biti, as a veteran politician, you address your question to the Chair.

HON. BITI:  I apologise Mr. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMETARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question that he posed and indeed the Government of Zimbabwe is committed to constitutionalism, the rule of law and everything that he has said.  The events that he has chronicled are events that are of concern to the Government.  What is of concern to the Government is the attack on innocent people, attack on people’s businesses, attack on people who were going about doing their business when the so called protesters barricaded roads, prevented people from doing their day to day activities. Our Constitution is very clear on freedom of movement, freedom of information and association. All those freedoms are enshrined in our Constitution, but what we saw even on property rights when these demonstrations were happening, they went to the extent of attacking police officers in police stations and killing them. There is nowhere in the world where you will find a reasonable State standing aside when civilians are attacking and killing policemen.

So, this behaviour that happened when the so called demonstrators went into the streets was unbecoming and if there are incidences where the Hon. Member is aware of any of our law enforcements agents that went about doing the opposite of what they are constitutionally mandated to do, we are free to receive that. Those incidences will be investigated. That is the position and our position again is, if anyone is arrested, we have due processes of the law. If you go to court and you have been tortured, you are given an opportunity to explain your case before the magistrate.

If you are denied legal representation, the Constitution is very clear. You present your case and if you are not satisfied with the ruling of the magistrate, we have review and appeal processes. So we have a whole range of checks and balances in our court processes. I believe that everything that has to be done, the Hon. Member is a very seasoned politician and lawyer. He knows the processes that needs to be done should any of the rights that are bestowed on our citizens are infringed upon. I thank you Hon. Speaker.

Continued next page

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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