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Human rights abused in currency searches

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for human Rights (ZLHR) has accused youth militia and law enforcement agents of stripping women naked and making indecent searches in an “illegal operation” to recover money allegedly stashed at homes.

The lawyer

s also said the Reserve Bank’s operation, authorised by President Robert Mugabe through emergency powers, was unlawful.

“Fighting corruption and economic crime outside the rule of law entrenches rather than removes corruption. Let us frown at such fragrant disregard of the rule of law,” ZLHR executive director, Arnold Tsunga, said yesterday.

“The resultant dehumanising of Zimbabweans at roadblocks by Zanu PF youths who have no policing authority, CIOs and the police where people are being arbitrarily detained, searched, stripped naked and their assets (mainly money) looted from them with impunity must stop immediately.”

Tsunga said the operation amounted to looting people’s hard-earned cash and assets by state-sponsored criminals.

“Looting in this country has gone on for too long, is not permissible and must stop forthwith even if it is carried out under the guise of enforcing an overzealous policy of a largely clueless Reserve Bank governor,” he said.

“The ouster of the jurisdiction of the courts to offer remedies for violations arising from the usual overzealous implementation of the Gideon Gono monetary policy causes some severe discomfort.”

Tsunga said the search and seize crackdown was reinforcing the usurpation of judiciary powers.

“The persistent ouster of the authority of courts under the guise of economic empowerment has reached sickening proportions and needs us to react appropriately,” he said.

“I still insist that it is not possible to fight corruption and economic crime or restore economic stability outside the rule of law and adherence to basic human rights standards and norms.

“The privatisation of the public policy formulation process and its efficient ruthless and wanton implementation has resulted in chaos in our country and serious human rights violations with impunity.”

Tsunga said the illegal grabbing of people’s money by corrupt state agents was similar in its ferocity and ruthlessness to Operation Murambatsvina.

“Ordinary men, women and children of Zimbabwe still live without dignity after Operation Murambatsvina was unleashed on them in similar fashion just over a year ago,” he said. “Such contempt for humanity in Zimbabwe must stop.” — Staff Writers.

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