Govt exonerates self from August 1 killings

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By Leopold Munhende

GOVERNMENT has said the August 1, 2018 killings on protesters by the army were not in any way extrajudicial as alleged but were a lawful intervention by the State to forestall a worse off situation.

The Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration makes the controversial position in its human rights report under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR).

The long-awaited report that covers the period 2007 to date, praises government efforts to respect and protect human rights despite global concerns Mnangagwa’s so-called New Dispensation was merely perpetuating late former President Robert Mugabe’s brutal rule.

The report cites former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe’s Commission of Inquiry into the post-2018 election disturbances in which six civilians were gunned down in central Harare by the army with more left nursing varying degrees of gunshot wounds.

“The (Motlanthe) Commission also established that the deployment of the army was justified since the protests had become violent and were posing a threat to the lives and property of the majority of the peace-loving Zimbabweans,” reads the report published on Sunday.

Despite growing calls for reforms within a state security apparatus often accused of abductions, illegal arrests, torture and murder, the report gives credit to Zimbabwean police.

Adds the report, “While police violence and extra judicial killings are not a common phenomenon in Zimbabwe, it is imperative to note that the country has adequate laws and institutions to investigate, prosecute and bring to book the perpetrators no matter who they are.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) training curriculum now incorporates human rights issues and the rule of law, including the prohibition of torture.”

Th report comes just as a Harare street vendor, Hilton Tamangani died on Saturday while in prison custody with reports he succumbed to injuries sustained when he was beaten up by the police.

Further reports indicated prison wardens had blocked attempts by an injured Tamangani and his lawyers to be treated by doctors.

No police officer or prison warden has been arrested yet as authorities say investigations were still underway.