The Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform (ZHRMP) has increased calls for impartiality in the country’s judiciary regardless of political affiliation, so as to ensure democracy in the country.
This follows subsequent detention and criminalization of Zimbabwe National Student Association (ZINASU) members for standing in solidarity with their union President Takudzwa Ngadziore and Former Secretary-General and Human Rights defender Makomborero Haruzivishe and Tapiwanashe Chiriga who then granted an RTGS $5 000 bail on Friday.
ZINASU is a non-affiliate student movement as per constitution.
In an interview with ZHRMP Programmes Officer Takudzwa Gwaze said that the democratic space in Zimbabwe is shrinking.
A need for government action
“What is needed is an independent judiciary which upholds and interprets the law without looking in political affiliation lenses”.
See also: Malawi Government and Lawyers Tussle
“For the general public to see that government is concerned about democracy, it must ensure that all perpetrators of human rights abuses are brought to book and urgently address the issues concerning the impartiality of the judiciary which is a critical arm in ensuring the rule of law”, he said.
Detention of student activists
A number of ZINASU members have been arrested for standing in solidarity with their fellow leaders who have been already detained.
For example, the union’s Programme Officer, Innocent Sibanda, and other students were arrested at Harare Magistrate Court for allegedly bringing food and offering solidarity to their leaders already imprisoned.
Gwaze continued to say that the state institutions need to be unbiased and demilitarised so as to ensure democracy in the country.
“Most importantly our state institutions must be demilitarised especially the police, judiciary and the national prosecution as they are critical in ensuring that the people enjoy their freedom of expression and associations”.
“The state is using any mechanism available to it to silence the voice of the youth, opposition members and Civic Society actors”, he says.
“The continual clampdown on students leaders and others human rights defenders in Zimbabwe shows that the Harare Regime is not committed to upholding the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/53/144 of 1998 the Declaration on the protection of human rights defenders, upholding the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights among other regional and national legal instruments”, said Gwaze.
Student Activism mean no harm
On Friday the state declared the courts a no-go area for ZINASU students or anyone related to the union.
ZINASU Spokesperson Donald Marevanhema told Transcontinental Times that their student movement is only seeking democracy and students activist
“The students ain’t terrorist but seek engagement and dialogue with the government”.
“The issue that we have learned with time is that we can’t bring sense to a tyrant leadership but we are prepared to face the consequences of the fight for freedom where academic freedom is part and parcel of our everyday life”, he said
Several students have been detained for exercising their constitutional rights against the state.
Recently, Allan Moyo, a University of Zimbabwe student activist was released after spending 74 days in prison for addressing the national question and holding the government to account for its failures in ushering in a democratic developmental state.
Detention of students contradicts several sections of the constitution which enshrines freedom of assembly and association, to demonstrate or petition and conscience.