Chihuri arrogance, disdain worrisome


Once again we witness Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri flaunting his disdain at citizens outrage over the daylight robbery they are being subjected to by his officers who have littered the countrys roads in what looks suspiciously like a fundraising project.

The motoring public and in particular commuter operators last week protested against the manner in which police were robbing them. They complained police officers had manned roadblocks every few kilometers on almost every road, ticketing them for minor or nonexistent traffic offences and demanding bribes.

True, the sudden massive visibility of traffic police on the countrys roads would make one wonder if there is anybody left to man the stations or attend to crimes away from the roads.

The heavy police deployment on the roads has become a matter of public debate and what the kombi operators were expressing last week was a general view by Zimbabweans who, much as they want road accidents curbed, were surprised by the number of roadblocks on the roads.

What Zimbabweans expected from the police chief was his ear and at least an attempt at reining in his charges who are known for their corrupt tendencies, especially the traffic teams that have tainted the image of Zimbabwes police force. They expected Chihuri to acknowledge what is now public knowledge the highway daylight robbery by his officers.

Although he may not have acceded to the public demand for an end to arbitrary depredations on the roads, the public did hope for fewer demands for money by those waving down motorists.

But what does Chihuri do? He takes the opportunity to remind Zimbabweans he will do as he pleases and that their concerns are not reasonable. Let me state categorically, he said, that the reckless and misguided call to remove the traffic police from the roads is a non-starter.

By nature of their job, police operate from out there and not in offices. The police must be vigilant and must continue to be out there to ensure total peace, security and safety of all, all the time.

As Commissioner-General of Police, I will be grossly irresponsible to take the officers from the roads and accommodate them in offices just to lazy around. Their work is out there and they will remain out there.

Well said Commissioner-General, but the people are not saying the thousands of policemen and women deployed on our roads in the past few weeks must go and sit in offices.

The people are saying your men and women must go out to enforce the law and bring to book wanted people like Joseph Mwale whom the High Court said must be arrested for the murder of MDC activists 12 years ago, but who continue to roam freely today.

The police chief also took the opportunity to reiterate claims police were not partisan although he has openly declared his allegiance to Zanu PF. There is absolutely nothing partisan about a Zimbabwean police officer loving his country and being prepared to sacrifice and die for it, he said.

There should not be any apology for this disposition. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais party has in the past called on Chihuri to resign for openly saying Zanu PF would not give in even if it lost elections.

He said Zanu PF would not hand over power through the pen. This country came through blood and the barrel of the gun and it can never be re-colonised through a simple pen, which costs as little as five cents, Chihuri said in November 2010.