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World ought to act over Zimbabwe brutality

By Gabriel Shumba

THE Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) is deeply disturbed by the public and shameful confirmation that torture in Zimbabwe is orchestrated and supported by t

he government itself.

The report in the Herald of September 25 that President Robert Mugabe openly encouraged police brutality has chilling effects.

ZEF is shocked that while commenting on the serious torture of 15 Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions leaders including Wellington Chibebe and Lucia Matibenga who suffered broken limbs while in police custody for organising peaceful labour protests on September 13, the president was unsympathetic and unapologetic.

Rather, he openly gloated that those who dare challenge his authority will face the wrath of state agents and that there is nothing the international community, particularly the European Union and the United States, can do about it.

It is highly unsettling that Mugabe shows scant regard for the victims of this gruesome assault, even though they might suffer permanent injury. This incident is another telling example of how President Mugabe is more concerned about perpetuating his own misrule of the country at all costs.

ZEF believes that, in part, this vicious cycle of torture is exacerbated by impunity and the war mentality of those that govern us. The government has turned monstrous, sanctioning the butchering of its own people.

We agree with the International Bar Association’s and others’ view that there is need for regional and international action to hold the Zimbabwean government to account for its actions. This call has been repeated several times and we repeat again that Zimbabwe needs urgent international intervention, even a military one as in Darfur and the DRC.

International law cannot be flouted with impunity while the world remains silent. We warn that if this persists, Zimbabweans may be forced to resort to violence against this repressive regime, a situation that should be prevented.

Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer, is executive director of ZEF.

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