Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

US condemns “unprovoked use of force” by police in dispersing MDC supporters

By Marshall Bwanya

United States assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy on Wednesday condemned the wanton excessive force used by police to disperse supporters of the main opposition MDC gathered outside party headquarters Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (MRT) house.

Police surround opposition party supporters who had gathered to hear a speech by the country's top opposition leader in Harare, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Zimbabwean police with riot gear fired tear gas and struck people who had gathered at the opposition party headquarters to hear a speech by the main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who still disputes his narrow loss to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Police surround opposition party supporters who had gathered to hear a speech by the country’s top opposition leader in Harare, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Zimbabwean police with riot gear fired tear gas and struck people who had gathered at the opposition party headquarters to hear a speech by the main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who still disputes his narrow loss to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Bystanders and journalists were caught in the crossfire as the police unleashed their wrath on everyone within the vicinity of MRT house. Nagy condemned the latest acts of violence by the police on citizens as a breach of the state’s constitutional obligation to its citizens.

“We are concerned by the police’s unprovoked use of force against peaceably assembled Zimbabweans today and call on the Government of Zimbabwe to cease such violence against its own population.

“We note that the passage of new legislation has had no impact on the actions of the Government of Zimbabwe’s respect of freedom of assembly and other rights. We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to respect its 2013 Constitution in permitting non-violent public gatherings,” he said.

Nagy’s comments come after a recent rift in relations between the United States and the Zimbabwean government fuelled by Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo’s threats to cut off diplomatic ties with the USA after he sharply criticised US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols and called him an “opposition citadel.”

Police officers stand by near opposition party supporters who gathered to hear a speech by the country's top opposition leader in Harare, Wednesday, Nov, 20, 2019. Zimbabwean police with riot gear fired tear gas and struck people who had gathered at the opposition party headquarters to hear a speech by the main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who still disputes his narrow loss to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Police officers stand by near opposition party supporters who gathered to hear a speech by the country’s top opposition leader in Harare, Wednesday, Nov, 20, 2019. Zimbabwean police with riot gear fired tear gas and struck people who had gathered at the opposition party headquarters to hear a speech by the main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who still disputes his narrow loss to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Video footage and pictures of MDC supporters, bystanders and journalists being assaulted went viral on social media with most citizens condemning the current Mnangagwa regime for imitating the old Robert Mugabe and Ian Smith led regimes.

An elderly man had his heard cracked by the police, and in the footage appears to be in trauma and in dire need of immediate medical attention. Political analyst Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya bemoaned the growing abuse of women perpetrated by the police.

“These are serious violations of women’s human rights that this country should avoid. This is very deplorable from law enforcement agents. These officers should be held accountable for these injustices,” he said.

Zimbabwe top opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, center, arrives to deliver his speech at the party headquarters in Harare, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Zimbabwean police with riot gear fired tear gas and struck people who had gathered at the opposition party headquarters to hear a speech by the main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who still disputes his narrow loss to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwe top opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, center, arrives to deliver his speech at the party headquarters in Harare, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Zimbabwean police with riot gear fired tear gas and struck people who had gathered at the opposition party headquarters to hear a speech by the main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who still disputes his narrow loss to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) reported that three journalists were assaulted by police at the MRT House. Daniel Chigundu of Openparly, Loreen Tadzingwa of the same publication and Ranganai Zimunya from Community Radio Harare (CORAH).

Political tensions remain high in the country with President Emmerson Mnangagwa battling a legitimacy challenge in the midst of growing human rights abuses while the nation’s economic woes continue deteriorating by the day with no viable immediate solution. Nehanda Radio