Heal Zimbabwe condemns the use of teargas canisters on ordinary citizens by the police in Harare as they tried to disperse protesting vendors, commuter omnibus crew and rank marshals who were protesting against police harassment and use of spikes to control traffic on 29 June 2017. This then led to a total lockdown of Harare Central Business district (CBD) as the police fought running battles with the protestors.
As the police continued to fire tear smoke canisters, ordinary people who were not part of the protests were caught unaware and affected. Heal Zimbabwe castigates the discharge of tear smoke canisters in the CBD or anywhere else as a reckless and dangerous strategy to disperse crowds. Such carelessness is a cause for concern as it shows lack of respect for human life and security. Constitutionally, the police are supposed to protect and secure the lives and property of people. It is also an infringement of citizen’s fundamental human rights and freedoms such as section 52 of the Constitution that provide for Right to personal security.
Heal Zimbabwe has been on record advocating for the implementation of Section 210 of the Constitution that provide for an Independent Complaints Mechanism that receives and investigates complaints from the members of the public about misconduct on the part of members of the security services.
Heal Zimbabwe implores the police to use non-violent means when dealing with protestors. Government must also create a conducive environment for its citizens where fundamental freedoms and human rights such the right to demonstrate and petition are enjoyed.