…police fingered as major perpetrators
Masvingo Province has topped human administrative justice violations in the country with the Zimbabwe Republic Police being fingered as the major perpetrator of rights abuse.
According to statistics by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), Masvingo Province received 86 cases which constituted 29 percent of the reports made nationally.
Masvingo was followed by Mashonaland West and Manicaland Provinces with the remaining Mashonaland provinces recording no case during the period under review.
“The statistics indicates that Masvingo Province received 86 cases (29%) followed by Mashonaland West and Manicaland Provinces, which received 56 (19%) and 55 (18%) cases, respectively. Matabeleland South, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, and Mashonaland East Provinces did not register any cases during the month under review, and their overall number of cases remains constant from prior months,” read the report
The commission further noted that the variance in statistics was a result of the increase in number of human rights administrative justice awareness in the provinces where people were sensitized on the role of the commission in that regard and as a result, people started reporting about violations.
“More activities will be implemented to raise public awareness of the Commission’s role in advancing administrative justice. The number of cases increased due to the increased number of Mobile Human Rights Administrative Justice Clinics held in provinces.
“There was a notable increase in cases received in Manicaland as a result of increased visibility of the Commission through the installation of signage on the building and the use of help desks on Fridays to assist the public with human rights issues and other general legal issues,” read part of the statement
The commission further said it was going to do more awareness campaigns in provinces with few cases as that was a result of lack of knowledge amongst people
“To ensure that residents in Matabeleland North and Mashonaland Central, as well as other provinces like Mashonaland East Province, which had the fewest instances, efficiently use the Commission’s services, the Commission will expand its presence in those areas,” reads part of the report
The report further singled out the Zimbabwe Republic Police as the major perpetrator of human rights abuses through delay in justice delivery and abuse of office.
“There were more complaints of justice delay and abuse of office against Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), which was primarily listed as the respondent.
Many people complained that the ZRP prolonged investigations, resulting in infringement of their rights due to protracted pretrial detention. Furthermore, numerous complaints of abuse of office were filed against the ZRP’s Criminal Investigation Department, which violated individuals’ rights by torturing accused persons so that they could admit to crimes. As a result, there is a need for continued capacitation of the police on administrative justice,” read the report.
Out of the 302 cases received, 58 cases were of abuse of office, 23 cases were of abuse of power, 80 cases involved justice delay, 15 cases were related to delay in benefits, 8 cases were related to access to documentation and 118 cases were of general nature
On gender classification the commission noted that more complaints were lodged by men as compared to their female counterparts between January and August 2023 where of the 302 complaints lodged, 233 were from men while 69 were from women.
“Male complaints account for 77 percent of the total complaints received. Complaints from females account for 23 percent of all complaints received. In contrast to the fourth quarter of 2022, complaints from females increased by 3 percent and complaints from males decreased by 3 percent decrease but cases received from males remain higher than those from females. The Mobile Human Rights Clinics in prisons held across the country have contributed to the high number of complaints from males.
“There is need to ensure that many barriers that prohibit women from registering complaints are demystified and deconstructed. These include restricted access to information, patriarchy, financial restrictions, and gender stereotypes that confine women to the domestic sphere,” read part of the report.
The department alleges that it faced several challenges, including insufficient financial, and material resources to carry out all planned operations, scarcity of tools of trade, and vehicles for investigations to complete the identified activities.
They also had challenges of unstable internet at the offices and that affected effective implementation of departmental activities and conducting of work-related research by officers.
They also called for the provision of adequate resource, stable internet connection and continuous capacity building of officers in the department to ensure efficiency.
ZHRC recently held a stakeholder meeting to sensitize people about its administrative justice mandate in Masvingo at Flamboyant Hotel.