The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has filed a lawsuit against the police and other law enforcement officers including soldiers for assaulting and abusing civilians while enforcing the national lockdown. The lawsuit alleges that police officers are not enforcing regulations but are in fact assaulting citizens, some of them who will be in their homes and carrying out their daily chores.
The lawsuit further alleges that the law enforcement officers themselves risk infection and infecting members of the public they come across because they are not observing social distancing rules.
The lawsuit was filed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (second applicant) who are representing Lucia Masvondo (first applicant) one of the victims of brutality by the overzealous law enforcement officers.
There are 7 respondents in the case, namely, Minister of Health and Child Care, Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Minister of Home Affairs & Cultural Heritage, The Commissioner General of Police, The Minister of Defence, the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe and the National Prosecuting Authority.
The police and the soldiers have been accused of excesses against civilians and a few videos have leaked onto social media in which the law enforcement officers can be seen clearly abusing civilians. Women, in particular, appear, to have been on the receiving end of such assaults on more than one occasion.
The police have urged all victims of such conduct to file police reports so that the cases of assault can be investigated. The Zimbabwe National Army has denied the allegations saying that it is yet to see a single case being reported. The army advised the victims of the alleged assaults to file reports at the nearest police or army camps to allow them to investigate. They added that it is not helpful for civilians to post the assaults on social media without reporting the cases.