MDC Says Police Failing To Probe Political Killings

THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has accused the police of failing to investigate the alleged murder of the opposition party’s members by state security agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans.

 

The party claimed this week that 50 of its members have been killed, several injured and thousands displaced in the post-March 29 harmonised elections.

In a letter dated May 23 to Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, MDC lawyers, Mbidzo, Muchadehama & Makoni alleged that the force seemed to have taken a lackadaisical attitude towards the political violence.

“Our client is concerned, however, that there has been little progress, if any, in the investigation of cases of violence against MDC supporters and the (then) 38 cases of suspected murder of their supporters,” the letter said.

The lawyers said Chihuri should urgently intensify investigations into the suspected murders in line with the constitutional mandate of the police.

“In the premises, our clients implores your good office in the terms of your constitutional mandate to intensify investigations in the 38 cases of suspected murder…and other cases which may not have been captured herein, and give feedback on the extent of your investigations,” the lawyers said.

The opposition party told Chihuri that the uniformed forces should police all the violence-prone areas and ensure that all citizens regardless of their political affiliation are provided with adequate protection of the law as articulated in the Zimbabwe Constitution and major international human rights instruments.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday told the Zimbabwe Independent that he was not aware of the letter.

“I am not aware of that letter,” he said. “If there is such a letter then it should not have been sent to the Commissioner-General’s office because he does not deal with investigations but administrative issues.”

He added: “There was no need for that letter as the police from various stations where the crimes were reported are still carrying out their investigations and why should the letter be leaked to the media?”

Meanwhile, human rights organisations have condemned the alleged brutal killing of MDC members following the discovery last week of four bodies in varying degrees of decomposition. Beta Chokururama, Godfrey Kauzani, Cain Nyevhe and Tonderai Ndira were allegedly abducted and murdered by suspected youth militia.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the police must take immediate concrete and visible measures to minimise the occurrence of “enforced disappearances” and the associated impunity.

“The police must also serve the community by protecting all persons against such illegal acts as articulated in Article 1 of the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials,” ZLHR said. “The bereaved families must be provided with adequate protection of the law without discrimination on political or other grounds. Justice must prevail.”

The Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) also condemned the alleged murders and said Zimbabwe’s justice system had been politicised and severely degraded over the years as it was now fostering impunity rather than delivering justice.

“As the government of Zimbabwe escalates its attacks in various forms on its people and further weakens the institutions that should ordinarily protect the people, the need for organised movements to offer platforms for public discourse, civil resistance, awareness creation and to lobby influential governments around the world has never been greater”.

By Lucia Makamure