Heal Zimbabwe condemns harassment of citizens after MOPO bill hearings
| Heal Zimbabwe unreservedly condemns the harassment of citizens in Gutu Central by alleged members of the security services after they had participated in the Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO) bill consultative meeting that was conducted at Gutu Rural District Council offices on 6 June 2019.|
During the said bill hearing, participants from Gutu Central wards 33, 34 and 37 made submissions and dismissed the bill as a draconian piece of legislation that was a replica of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). From 7-9 June 2019, participants who had made submissions to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee were visited by identified members of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) who operate at Mupandawana Growth point. The security detail accused them (names withheld for security reasons) of planning demonstrations and threatened them with violence. The case has since been reported at Gutu Zimbabwe Republic Police station. No arrests have been made so far.
Heal Zimbabwe views such harassment of citizens as a gross abuse of citizens’ fundamental human rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression that is well provided for in Section 61 of the constitution. Added to this, consultative meetings by Parliament are a platform that enhance citizen participation which is a key pillar in any democratic society. In light of this, Heal Zimbabwe implores Parliament to come up with mechanisms that ensures that citizens who make submissions during consultative meetings are protected from targeted harassment. The police must also thoroughly investigate culprits and bring them to book.