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continue to disregard Police Act
Caiphas Chimhete & Phyllis Mbanje, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
June 30, 2013
of the police force continue to openly support President Robert
of elections next month in direct violation of the Police Act
which forbids them from dabbling in politics.
Some of the
officers took part in Zanu-PF primaries last week and are set to
represent the former ruling party in forthcoming elections slated
for July 31.
The Police Act
forbids members of the force to actively participate in politics.
A police officer
is deemed to be actively participating in politics if he joins or
associates himself with an organisation or movement of a political
character; or canvasses any person in support of, or otherwise actively
assists, an organisation or movement of a political character.
A police officer
also is deemed as having participated in politics if he or she:
“…displays or wears rosettes, favours, clothing, symbols,
posters, placards or like articles having a political significance;
or attends a political meeting or assembly when wearing the uniform
of the police force or any part of such uniform likely to identify
him as a Regular Force member.”
that participated in last week’s Zanu PF primaries are Senior
Assistant Commissioner Ronald Muderedzwa and Assistant Commissioner
Oliver Mandipaka who won tickets to represent Buhera Central and
Two weeks ago,
police recruits openly declared their allegiance to Mugabe and Zanu-PF
at a pass-out parade in Harare. The officers wished the 89-year-old
leader, who has been ruling the country for over three decades,
a “resounding success” in the forthcoming elections.
General Augustine Chihuri has also declared his allegiance to Mugabe
and declared that he would not salute anyone without liberation
war credentials, in reference to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
who did not fight the war.
have also vowed that they will not allow Tsvangirai to rule this
country, even if he wins elections.
a police officer is suspected to have links with other political
parties, especially the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
he or she faces disciplinary action. Some have been ejected from
A police officer
in Chiredzi was recently hauled before a disciplinary hearing for
driving an MDC-T legislator’s car.
Mangoto appeared before police internal disciplinary board after
he drove a car belonging to former MP for Chiredzi Central, Moses
Mare into the police camp last month.
he wanted to buy the car and was doing a test drive before he could
The matter is
three officers were detained for attending an MDC-T rally. An internal
police court sentenced Courage Manyengavana, Marshall Zindoga and
Lovemore Mupedzapasi to 14 days detention for acting in a “manner
which brought disrespect to the police”.
In 2011, a female
police officer, Faith Mereki was fired for allegedly having close
links to an MDC-T legislator.
Sector Reforms have been resisted
Efforts by Morgan
Tsvangirai and MDC led by Welshman Ncube to effect security sector
reforms have been fiercely resisted by President Robert Mugabe and
Even Sadc at
the summit in Mozambique earlier this month ordered that security
forces publicly state or restate their commitment to the rule of
But Mugabe derided
the calls for security sector reforms in Namibia recently.
‘biased’ towards Zanu-PF.
Watch (HRW), a New York-based human rights body, has said chances
of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe were remote, as long as
the existing weaknesses in the security sector reforms remain.
It accused the
security forces of being “biased” towards Mugabe and
called for stringent reforms to “rein in police, the military
and internal security agents”.
Shakespeare Hamauswa said it was sad that the police had a tendency
of flouting its own laws.
of these people have various interests that they acquired through
the party, like mining ventures and other business prospects so
they would not want to lose these. They would rather serve the party
that is safeguarding their interests,” said Hamauswa. “Another
issue is that these guys have an umbilical-cord type of relationship,
whereby because they served together in the army they feel obliged
to keep supporting their comrades-in-arms. They fought together
side by side and they are forever attached to each other.”
the MDC formations to come up with a clear transitional strategy.
are generally afraid of a change of government because it leaves
them feeling exposed and so the various opposition parties need
to devise credible transitional plans,” he said.
analyst, Effie Dube said it was prudent that the police and the
army respect the Constitution.
is allowed to violate the Constitution, the police and the army
should not be partisan,” said Dube. “This will prevent
them from dispensing their duties efficiently. They cannot participate
in political matters, it is simply unacceptable.”
Dube said the
role of the law officers was to provide and ensure safety to the
citizens and not to take sides with any political party.
duty is to ensure that everyone who wants to assemble with their
preferred party is protected to do so freely and even [at] voting
time everyone should feel safe enough to vote.”
He also said
the police and the army should fulfil their professional obligations
to the state.
extremely important that they should fully observe their duties.”
Charity Charamba demanded questions in writing.
Two weeks ago,
the police had however, promised to issue a statement on the matter
of serving officers contesting elections under the Zanu-PF ticket.
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