NGO blasts Hwange police

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has condemned Hwange police for demanding that human rights organisations who want to disseminate information in the district should first be cleared by the district administrator (DA).

“It is unacceptable on the part of the police to demand that human rights organisations provide evidence of MoU’s with administrative workers for them to do their work,” executive director, Abel Chikomo said.

He expressed shock that the police should require an MoU as a prerequisite for an organisation to get police clearance.

Taken from SouthernEye

“Rights awareness and popularisation of the Constitution in general and provisions on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) should not ordinarily require those administrative automates where the police demand clearance,” Chikomo said.

On Wednesday, Hwange police withheld clearance for the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust, Heal Zimbabwe and Centre for Community Development, who wanted to hold an information kiosk, where they raise awareness on the NPRC and other general constitutional provisions, only to give a go-ahead towards the end of the day. Tsungai Mutongwizo, a human rights lawyer, said it was shameful for the police to demand clearance from the DA.

“We provided all the papers as required by the law, specifically the Public Order and Security Act,” the lawyer said. “We were, therefore, surprised when the police kept insisting on us getting a written clearance from the DA’s office. It is an illegal requirement not provided for by law.”

Mutongwizo said they had to hunt for the chief superintendent in charge of the district, as he was evasive. Mutongwizo said police granted clearance after they asserted their rights.

“They gave us the clearance towards end of day and we went ahead with our programme on Wednesday late in the afternoon,” the lawyer said.

“From our interactions with the people of Hwange, it was clear that they are information starved.”

Esnath Nkiwane, one of the Hwange residents who visited the Information kiosk, said: “It would be better if these information kiosks are an ongoing exercise. We had not laid our hands even on the Constitution and we are thankful for the information that has been provided for here.”

Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.