Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CIZC) is deeply concerned about the continued onslaught on media practitioners and the use of force by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to thwart people’s democratic rights.
Yesterday, November 12, 2015, police in Harare arrested Freelance Journalist, Andrison Manyere who was covering a demonstration by MDC-T activists against the reluctance of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to implement electoral reforms.
The arrest of Manyere comes a week after police arrested four journalists from the State owned media.
The clampdown on the media comes barely a month after First Lady; Grace Mugabe attacked journalists for their reportage on the current developments within Zanu (PF).
As Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we would like to implore law enforcement agencies to uphold journalists’ fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 61 of the constitution of Zimbabwe.
Section 61 (1) (a) is clear that “Every person has the right to freedom of expression, which includes- freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information…”
We hold the view that upholding media freedom is a pre-requisite for guaranteeing citizens’ constitutional right of access to information as outlined in Section 62 of the country’s constitution.
CIZC further implores the Zimbabwe Republic Police to respect citizens’ rights to demonstrate and petition in a peaceful manner.
In particular, the law enforcement agents need to desist from using force to break peaceful protests.
Section 59 of the constitution is clear that “every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions but these rights must be exercised peacefully”.
We further implore the government to ensure speedy implementation of the constitution which would ensure that people’s concerns with regards issues of fundamental democratic reforms are addressed.
As CIZC, we re-emphasize, as captured in our alternative economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Social Market Agenda for Recovery and Transformation (ZimSmart) that Zimbabwe needs to uphold constitutional democracy and uphold the rule of law as a foundation for economic revival and growth.