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Remove soldiers or officially declare State of Emergency: Mtetwa

By Daniel Chigundu

Prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has called on the government to remove soldiers from the streets or to officially declare the State of Emergency.

A State of Emergency is a situation of national danger or disaster in which the government suspends normal constitutional procedures in order to regain control.

However, since the shutdown which happened a few weeks ago, the government has deployed armed soldiers on the streets and in public buses.

Some of these soldiers have gone on to harass civilians at will by either severely beating them, robbing them, raping women and girls among many others.

Speaking on the sidelines of the “March for Justice” protest organised by the Zimbabwe Law Society (ZLS), Mtetwa said there has to be an end to this adding that legal process must be allowed to take precedence.

“We are saying there has to be an end to this, if you have committed a crime you must be arrested and be given due legal process, there shouldn’t be instant justice as we are seeing.

“And we are saying no State of Emergency has been declared so why do we have the army all over the place, this is what we are asking for we just had an election, why are we going through this process, if there is the State of Emergency then let it be officially declared and we know why it is there,” she said.

Most people arrested in connection with the shutdown protest have been denied bail across the country and their trials are being fast-tracked thereby denying their lawyers time to prepare their defence.

This according to the ZSL paints a picture of a captured Judiciary Service Commission or political interference in the judiciary system.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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