Discipline security forces

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Lack of discipline among Zimbabwe’s security forces deserves every condemnation if the country is to avoid a spontaneous plunge into the murky waters of anarchy.

Two incidents this month triggered by soldiers and the police have left the nation wondering whether Zimbabwe, a country respected regionally and internationally as one with well-trained and disciplined forces, is still worthy of that status.

In our Monday edition we carried a report on soldiers who allegedly stormed a police station in Mutare and assaulted police officers who had arrested their colleague over allegations of kidnapping and assaulting two civilians from the city on March 11.

As if the assault on civilians was not enough, an estimated 30 soldiers reportedly took the law into their own hands and went on to assault police officers at ZRP Musika base, injuring many of them.

Many wonder, is this the mandate of our army? If they felt aggrieved there are more dignified ways of addressing the issue than reducing the force to a militia where no rules apply.

And over the weekend in Shamva, it was the police wreaking havoc with defenceless mine workers, in a crackdown that had claimed a life by yesterday.

Allegations are that the swoop at Ashley mine was in retaliation for a mobile phone theft on the wife of Shamva Police Station’s Officer-In-Charge.

Residents told NewsDay yesterday that after the alleged theft at the mine where the wife had gone to sell wares, she returned and told her husband who ordered his officers to descend on the miners and attack them.

The mission was carried out with intense ruthlessness.

Luxmore Chivambo died as a result and several more are battling for their lives at hospitals, two of them seriously.

The result was an unprecedented uproar in the small Mashonaland Central town yesterday as hundreds of civilians staged a demonstration in protest against police brutality.

Teargas canisters were thrown and it was mayhem in Shamva with demonstrators baying for the cops’ blood.

It was again another act of abuse of office and a clear example of law enforcement agents taking the very law they are supposed to uphold, into their own hands.

How low can a nation stoop?

General consensus is that perpetrators should not be allowed to go scot free. Where does it leave Zimbabwe if peace-loving citizens live in perpetual fear of forces whom they look to for protection?

As the Shamva community plunges into mourning and police officers in Mutare lick their wounds, the nation expects authorities to take action.

The two cases may just be the tip of an iceberg regarding indiscipline by security forces in the country. Whatever the case, action is needed now.

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