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Hairdressers, armed robbery and human rights

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This other day a middle aged woman was having her hair done in the small salon I run. She was discussing her life story with the hair dresser and I happened to overhear them.

This woman had just been released from prison for armed robbery (she insists she was innocent – on that particular occasion). After putting her and her colleagues in leg irons and handcuffs they shot her twice in the abdomen. They covered her head with a sack, dunked her into a drum of water and electrocuted her. After that she was ready to admit to any crime that she was accused of.

“You can sue them you know”, I suggested.

A local guy who was close by laughed derisively.

“Sue? Sue who? Chihuri signed, the police can shoot to kill!’ He confidently said.

I was shocked. I could not believe the level of ignorance amongst ordinary Zimbabweans. I carefully explained how the justice system works and Chihuri had no authority whatsoever when it came to legislation on how the police handle suspects. A law that allows police officers to shoot a suspect who is not shooting at them can never be passed anywhere in the world, I explained.

The guy was adamant.

“Policemen shoot people at will; they will beat you up, anything…”

“Just because they do it, does not make it right,” I interjected.

What I realized that day is that people do not have information as to their basic human rights and that is one area that civic society should focus on; educating the masses on their basic human rights.

The police should not touch you and in the event that they do, you can sue them!

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