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Cabinet concerned with harassment of citizens
Theresa Makone, co-Minister of Home Affairs
February 14, 2013

Cabinet on Tuesday expressed concern over the overzealousness of some police officers in the discharge of their Constitutional mandate of maintaining law and order and enforcing the law.

In particular, Cabinet emphasised that the police must follow the basic principle of policing that is, investigating to arrest rather than arresting to investigate.

Two issues that Cabinet discussed included harassment through unwarranted arrests by police of innocent citizens who had gone to register as voters in Lupane as well as the police raid at the offices of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP).

Cabinet tasked us as the co-Ministers of Home Affairs to investigate these issues, report back to it and where warranted to take appropriate action against individual police officers who might have overstepped their mandate and authority.

In both cases, I am made to understand that the police used a provision which makes reference to one being suspected to possess an article on their person or elsewhere that might be used to commit an offence as defined in section 40 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

If this is the case, then everybody in the country is a potential criminal because the shoes that one is wearing can be used to assault someone.

Cabinet also expressed concern with the disruption of the voter registration exercise and the bussing of people from one part of the country to another to register as voters in a move that will destroy the credibility of the registration exercise and the upcoming election.

The President and the Prime Minister have both stated unequivocally that every person should be given an opportunity to register as a voter without hindrance. As Ministers of Home Affairs, we will ensure that their directive is respected by every State institution.

As Co-Ministers for Home affairs, we will investigate these issues and report back to Cabinet.

The current trend of harassment of innocent citizens comes at a time when as a nation we are about to finalise a new Constitution for the country, which Constitution upholds human rights and basic freedoms.

Cabinet reiterated its commitment to creating an environment of peace, tolerance and respect for basic freedoms in the country.

Zimbabwe is not a police State and should not be seen to be one.

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