THINGS FALL APART: Governments breaking laws in order to enforce them

Filed under: Health & Nutrition,International News,Latest News |

Lockdowns and restrictions have been put in place to safeguard the health and safety of citizens in the face of coronavirus.

However, concerns have been raised over how these restrictive measures’ enforcements have given rise to human rights violations.

Corporal punishment, which was outlawed by the courts, is now legal in Zambia. And this time the police do not need court order to administer it.

Once the police find someone they think is breaking the law, they beat and laugh their lungs out.

However, according to some human rights activists, the state should not be the one which is breaking the law in order to enforce it. They believe there should not be any justification in killing the citizens in order to protect them.

While Zambia is beating people to enforce restrictive measures, its neighbours, Zimbabwe and South Africa have gone a notch higher, killing people who fail to observe the lockdown rules.

In South Africa a man, Collins Khosa was beaten to death by police and soldiers after they noticed a glass with what they suspected to be alcohol.

They asked Khosa why he was breaking the law by drinking during lockdown. According to watchers that is how bad policing have become, killing people to complying with lockdowns.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has said soldiers who were patrolling Warren Park suburb assaulted and killed a yet to be identified person for breaching lockdown rules.

The incident happened yesterday and the now deceased man is believed to have been taken to Parirenyatwa Mortuary.

“Sad events in Warren Park 2 along 5 Avenue, soldiers beat and left for dead one person. We reiterate enforcing lockdown is not the same with human rights violations,” said CiZC.

Apparently, this is not the only abuse that citizens have encountered at the hands of the state. Police and soldiers in Zimbabwe have assaulted a number of people including members of the press.

On 11 April 2020, freelance journalist Terence Sipuma was reportedly assaulted by members of the police and the army at the Kuwadzana roundabout in Harare while on his way to Chegutu to report on Zimbabwe’s 21-day COVID-19 lockdown.

According to Sipuma, who is a member of the Young Journalists Association (YOJA), he was stopped at the roundabout and asked where he was going.

“They asked where I was going and the moment I showed them my journalism I.D. (accreditation) card, I was asked to lie down (on the ground) and was beaten being accused of exposing them.

“They took my phone and as they were searching through the phone they promised me that they were going to do more if I had videos or pictures of that operation,” said Sipuma.

He told MISA Zimbabwe that he was released after about 15 minutes. Misa condemned the act and urged the relevant authorities to take action.

“The police and the Zimbabwe Media Commission should urgently investigate these cases involving the continued assaults and harassment of journalists and bring the culprits to book, otherwise, these media freedom violations will continue with impunity thereby placing the lives of journalists at great risk,” said Misa.


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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31