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.