OPPOSITION NCA leader, Lovemore Madhuku says the use of excessive force by the country’s security apparatus while enforcing the country’s lockdown measures was a serious violation on citizens’ rights.
Madhuku is part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s political parties grouping coalescing under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) forum.
Since the lockdown was declared by Mnangagwa March this year, there have been reports of brutalities visited upon ordinary citizens accused of violating measures imposed against the spread of coronavirus.
In a virtual interaction with social workers Tuesday, Madhuku said state brutality on citizens was wrong.
“Security forces can only use reasonable force when reasonable force is called for,” said the constitutional lawyer.
“As a general rule, enforcement of lockdown statutory instruments does not require the use of force by security forces.
“The security forces are there to arrest people if they are posing a danger and from there, the legal processes of prosecution will take place; not to use excessive force.”
Madhuku added, “You cannot justify force in issues that you are enforcing measures related to Covid-19. Once a law has been put as an SI (Statutory Instrument), that law has any other effect like any other law. So, there is no specific measure of enforcement that is peculiar during lockdown,” he said.
Madhuku said security forces could only use force where there was resistance.
“Security forces are not required at all to use force whether to disperse people or anything, they have to follow established procedures.
“Only if there is resistance, you would use force. The use of force is wrong and unlawful and must be totally condemned,” he said.
Meanwhile, Madhuku has said government was supposed to provide food to starving citizens during the lockdown.
“Government, in responding to Covid-19 and imposing lockdowns, has acted in good measure.
“There is a temptation that if you do things for good measure, you tend to forget that there are some certain basic rights you have to respect; that has not happened.
“The government has an obligation of providing food to vulnerable members of the community and unfortunately this has not been very forthcoming,” he said.