Amnesty calls for security reforms

HARARE – Amnesty International (AI) has joined a long list of groups pressing for wholesale changes in the political landscape by urging President Robert Mugabe to institute security reforms to end rampant nationwide violence.\r\n

Amnesty International  Director for Africa Erwin van der Borght said this at the conclusion of their tour of Zimbabwe where his team observed human rights violations allegedly led by security agents.

“’Security reform is needed in Zimbabwe to end a legacy of partisan abuse of law to achieve political goals,” said van de Borght. “It is an open secret that Zanu PF supporters who use violence against members of the public or their perceived political opponents are beyond the reach of the law.”

He  observed that police have continued to selectively apply the law by turning a blind eye to violations by Zanu PF supporters.

“Concrete reforms of the security sector are urgently needed before the next elections are held. The security apparatus that instigated the 2008 political violence is still intact.’’ he added.

“These events are just a tip of the iceberg; thousands of people in rural areas live in fear of violence, amid talk that the country might hold another election in 2011.”

He has urged the three principals in the unity government to act against human rights violations by state agents.

Borght said he was concerned that  MDC supporters were being attacked and forcibly evicted from their homes by Zanu PF supporters.

“Police failed to protect these people. They even arrested victims who came to report the incidents,” said Borght who claimed his team had witnessed said partisan behavior by police on January 21 during violence scenes in Harare’s townships.

In recent weeks, supporters of Mugabe have been involved in violence against vendors and suspected MDC supporters.

Hundreds of MDC supporters were evicted from their homes in Mbare by notorious Chipangano gang, a group of thugs known for its penchant for violence.

Last week, the National Security Council met with the three principals in the inclusive government to try and find ways of ending the violence largely blamed on Zanu PF supporters. – Daily News