Police have been instructed to gear up for the referendum and elections, where rival political supporters often clash, to counter acts of violence which have characterised most of these events in Zimbabwe.
To this end, Deputy Commissioner-General Levi Sibanda urged public relations officers in the police force to increase awareness campaigns in communities to ensure people did not engage in violence.
Sibanda made the call while officially opening the Provincial Community Relations Liaison Officers’ workshop in Harare on Tuesday.
“This workshop comes at an opportune time when the nation is preparing for a referendum and general elections, where your proficiency and effectiveness in public relations are greatly required,” said Sibanda.
“Honestly, the success of these important processes is hinged on your professional application of public relations ethics, morals and norms, which foster constructive interaction between the organisation and its stakeholders.
In this regard, I would like to encourage you all to increase awareness campaigns in your provinces in order to enlighten the populace on the importance of tolerance and restraint to reduce incidents of political violence.”
The police chief said once election dates were announced, political violence took centre stage and it was the role of police to harness it.
“Increase awareness campaigns in order to enlighten the public on the disadvantages of political violence. So as the organisation’s mouthpiece, we have to move ahead and remove political violence from the minds of the people,” he said.
He also urged police to shun corruption which he said put the organisation’s name into disrepute.
“I would like to urge you to take a leading role in the fight against corruption in the police force. Certainly this scourge tarnishes the good image of the organisation, hence collective effort is required to rid the police of all members who engage in corrupt activities,” he added.