Zimbabwe has two major campaigns that are binding citizens together against the government. One of them is the #ThisFlag campaign led by Pastor Mwawire and the other which has received far less media coverage is the Tajamuka campaign.
The two campaigns and their leaders have been branded by the Zimbabwean government as “cyber terrorists” for their activities in organising and mobilising the anti-government protests via social media.
Having been branded as such, it should be no wonder that the level of police brutality towards the protesters in Zimbabwe has reached shocking levels. The protests which have been organized by these two campaigns have been peaceful protests but security forces in Zimbabwe have applied a lot of force in curbing them.
Each protest leaves behind scores of people injured as police officers fire tear gas and water cannons, even going so far, in some instances, as to beating the unarmed protesters with batons.
One member of the Tajamuka campaign, Silvanos Bhanditi Mudzvova who spoke about the police brutality, said that he did not understand why the police is acting this way;
“All Zimbabweans are affected by the crisis and you find that most of the police officers are living below the poverty line in this country. So we are absolutely shocked by the way that they beat people who are actually calling for them to have a better life.”
Considering that the government has in recent times failed to pay wages to its civil servants – including police and military, his sentiments are understandable.
The Tajamuka Campaign is petitioning legislators and human rights lawyers to ensure mechanisms are put in place to enable citizens to hold accountable police accused of brutality.
Currently, the group is carrying out an identification process to confirm the names of police officers involved in the violence, after which they intend to work with a human rights lawyer “to charge everybody that used violence”.
The group also said that it is planning to petition Police Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri to officially request that riot police officers are given badge numbers identifying them. Hopefully, the petitions will be granted but, the two campaigns have vowed to continue their agitations against the nation’s political leadership until President Robert Mugabe steps down and that could be a long time yet.