Shakespeare Muzavazi

The speaker of parliament Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda has accused members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) as the rogue elements that are causing mayhem during parliamentary public hearings.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting with members of the media fraternity in Gweru recently, Advocate Mudenda said the major cause of violence during parliamentary public hearings is Zimbabwe’s police.

“Uniformed police officers must not  attend public hearings  as they may hinder the democratic participation of the public in issues that affect them, some members of the public  are muzzled by the presence of the police officers  who attend the public hearing rooms clad in their uniforms,” he fumed.

Mudenda also told the Zimbabwean populace to engage parliament on any issues that affect their freedom.

“The public must not be harassed or coerced to accept a bill that goes against their constitutional rights ,” Mudenda Said

The accusation come when the European Union delegation and EU heads of mission in Zimbabwe recently condemned police for the way they have violently crushed recent demonstrations, saying this was an affront to the Constitution, which guarantees various freedoms including the right to protest.

“The EU expresses particular concern at the violent conduct by some elements within the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in responding to recent protests and demonstrations,” the statement said.

It also stated that the freedom to demonstrate and present petitions is enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution, along with other fundamental human rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, assembly and association.

The EU said it was the duty of the police to uphold the Constitution and allow citizens to freely and peacefully express themselves.

“Police have a duty to facilitate the conduct of undisturbed peaceful demonstrations and petitions. Use of force should only be considered as a last resort and always be proportionate,” the statement said.

“Furthermore, the constitutional right of arrested and detained persons should be fully upheld in all circumstances and the independence of the judiciary respected.

“The EU fully associates itself with the statement of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission on public protests and police conduct and joins its call for the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of human rights violations are prosecuted, ” the EU said.

The EU also appealed to demonstrators and police to avoid violent confrontations.