President of the Zimbabwe Devine Destine (ZDD), Bishop Ancelmo Magaya has castigated violence against citizens saying such acts are a direct breach of the United Nations Convention against torture.
Addressing journalists at a press conference to commemorate the belated International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Bishop Magaya said the number of violence victims in the country is disturbing.
“It is disturbing to note that our fellow countrymen continue to be tortured by people who are supposed to be protecting them.
“Innocent people are suffering from torture by the police and what is more heartbreaking is that since Independence, Zimbabwe has recorded an increase in dehumanizing practices,” said Magaya.
He said besides being a full member of the UN, the Zimbabwean government does not recognize the day a move he described as shocking while adding that as the church they are dismayed by the posture that is not in sync with the liberation ideals.”
The clergyman took time to remind perpetrators of torture that their time of judgement will come. He urged Zimbabweans to be humane and desist from fueling torture.
“We call upon on all God fearing citizens of this great nation to pray against the spirit of torture and the restoration of brotherly, Godly love that cherishes unity in diversity.
“Let me remind those that find comfort in torturing innocent souls that their day will come when their deeds will count against them,” said Magaya.
He said the church will not fold hands and watch citizens suffer in silence while adding that as the church they have planned special healing service of victims of torture.
Article 2 of the UN Convention against Torture of December 1984 states that “there are no grounds whatsoever for torture be it political or socio-economic that everyone including government can advance as justification, not even in the pretext of public safety.”
While Article 11 and 16 of part 1 of this convention clearly spells out the need for professional and human interrogation standards and the need for investigation if and when allegations of torture arise.
With almost two years before elections are held, there have been cases of political violence and torture in some parts of the country with recent incidences in Mudzi and Bikita. It remains to be seen how the situation will develop in the months heading into these crucial plebiscite.