By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Following the resignation of President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday human rights organisations have welcomed the move and urged the new leader to respect human rights.
In a statement Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty said Mugabe had an atrocious record of human rights abuse, adding that the incoming leader should bring a fresh impetus to the respect of human rights.
“During 37 years of President Mugabe’s leadership, tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed. President Mugabe condoned human rights violations, defended criminal actions by his officials and allowed a culture of impunity for grotesque crimes to thrive.
“The next generation of leaders must commit itself to upholding the constitution, living up to Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations and treating its people with dignity and justice,” said Shetty.
According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Emmerson Mnangagwa led government should expedite security reforms in the country.
HRW director for Southern Africa Dewa Mavhinga said the unfortunate resignation of President Robert Mugabe who has led the country since 1980 should be a golden opportunity to improve the country’s checkered human rights record.
“The next government should promptly carry out reforms of the military and police, which Mugabe used as tools for the repression of peaceful critics, independent organisations and the media,” he said.
Mugabe who turns 94 years next year in February tendered his resignation following concerted pressure from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), war veterans, Zanu PF supporters and the generality of Zimbabweans who claim to have been fed up by his 37 year-uninterrupted rule.
The aged veteran politician was said to be unwilling to step down to the extent that Parliament was debating a motion to impeach him when he finally gave notice of his resignation to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda.
Under his guide, Zimbabwe has been accused of gross human rights violation fronted by the unfortunate Gukurahundi massacre where over 20 000 alleged people of Ndebele origin were killed on the pretence that they were rebels.
His record is also tainted with the murders and violent activities related to the brutal land reform in 2000, the cruel Operation Murambatsvina of 2005 which left many people in towns across the country homeless and the 2008 Short sleeves wave of violence during the Presidential election run-off among many other incidences.