Disabled union leader’s prosthetic leg damaged, suffers injuries in violent police crackdown on CCC gathering 

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By Tapiwa Svondo

THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has castigated the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for brutalizing its senior member who is living with disabilities, describing the attacks as a “blatant violation of constitutional rights.”

ARTUZ Harare province secretary general, Ronald Hondongwa, was arrested together with the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim leader Jameson Timba and 78 others over the weekend on allegations of holding an unlawful meeting.

In a statement, ARTUZ alleged Hondongwa was beaten by State security forces resulting in damage to his prosthetic leg and injuries to his only functional hand.

As a result, Hondongwa has gone for days without bathing.

Furthermore, ARTUZ noted Hondongwa has been denied bail despite being a deserving candidate.

“It’s distressing to note that Ronald Hondongwa’s artificial leg was damaged while in State custody, and he sustained injuries to his only functional hand.

“He hasn’t been able to bathe for four days. Struggling to walk due to the broken artificial leg, he is facing significant hardship. We hope that bail will be granted soon to provide him relief and the opportunity to address his needs,” said ARTUZ.

The teacher’s representative body said it was saddened by recent developments in the country bordering on closing democratic space.

“ARTUZ is outraged by the arrest and police brutality against our Harare province secretary general, Ronald Hondongwa who was viciously attacked by State security forces while peacefully commemorating the Day of the African Child with CCC youths.

“This is a blatant violation of the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and association, enshrined in Section 58,” said ATRUZ.

The teacher’s representative body pleaded with the regime apparatus to respect people’s rights.

“We demand that the police and all State agents respect the rule of law and the rights guaranteed in our Constitution.

“Police brutality is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.The continued crackdown on democratic space in Zimbabwe is a grave concern,” further said the union.

ARTUZ warned of retaliatory action, calling for citizens to join in.

“We will not stand idly by as the State tramples on the hard-won liberties of the Zimbabwean people! Enough is enough! If we remain silent in the face of such egregious injustice, we become complicit in these abhorrent acts of State-sponsored violence. The time for action is now.

“We call on all citizens to join us in condemning this tyranny. Only through collective action can we put an end to these attacks on our fundamental freedoms.

“ARTUZ will not be cowed by intimidation tactics. We will continue to fearlessly advocate for the rights of our members and all Zimbabweans.

“The government must respect human rights and uphold the constitution, or face the wrath of the people,” reads the ARTUZ statement.