Matabeleland North Correspondent
RENOWNED Kenyan political analyst, Professor Patrick Lumumba has warned African governments against using excessive force against unarmed citizens.
Lumumba was speaking to NewZimbabwe.com in Victoria Falls at a recent Sadc Lawyers Association, just a few days before anti-riot police savaged horded of MDC supports who defied a police ban on a Friday demonstration the party had organised to protest rising poverty levels in the country.
Also drawing from the ill-fated August 1, 2018 and January 2019 protests in which at least 20 died in the hands of the army, Lumumba said organs of the State must not be used to undermine people’s freedoms.
“The State exists for the people but sometimes we talk as if the state is separate from the population yet the population is a critical aspect of any nation. It’s incumbent upon those who are serving in government to ensure that all organs of the State are there for protection of people.
“When it becomes necessary to deploy these forces, the force that is used must be commensurate to the threat that is in place or posed. We must not allow organs of the State to be used to undermine people’s freedom,” said Prof Lumumba.
He said the people’s freedoms must be protected and those who are enjoying those freedoms must also realise that there are responsibilities to carry.
“Therefore, it is inexcusable to use excessive force in order to protect individual interests,” he said.
Lumumba said all things being equal, all politicians in Zimbabwe should meet and say “I am not going to think of Zanu PF or MDC, but I think of making the economy revived and engage in a gear of ensuring Zimbabwe is alive.
He urged political leaders in the country to engage each other and save “this great country”.
The outspoken lawyer and political commentator also said Sadc countries had a duty to come to the aid of Zimbabwe.
Lumumba said Africa remained a continent in crisis.
He however accused political leaders of causing political unrest and yet shifting blame on external forces.
“Some (external forces) are real but some are imaginary. In fact, most of them are imaginary. It is true to say that there may be external factors but there are some things that we can resolve internally like to say if there is a dispute between two political parties, it takes the two or more combatants within a country to determine what is the best interests of the country and then we begin to resolve issues.”
He said external forces sometimes love it when African countries are in conflict and it is incumbent upon Africans to ensure that they resolve their conflicts in a manner that does not involve external forces.