POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has directed all police officers to register as voters and check their names on the voters’ roll as preparations for harmonised elections set for this year gather steam.
REPORT BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
The directive was carried in a radio communication number JC 647/12 produced on December 18, 2012 and dispatched to police stations countrywide on December 21, 2012.
Part of the order reads: “It has been noted that most members and officers within the organisation are not registered voters, addressees are being encouraged to ensure that all members and officers under their command are registered for voting.
“Those registered, check if their names appear on the voters’ roll during voters’ roll inspection. Members and officers (should) encourage their dependants to register for voting. Commanders are being reminded that voting is a national duty and in this respect, members and officers must take keen interest in the process.”
Just before the March 2008 harmonised elections, police officers were forced to vote at their respective stations under the watchful eye of their commanders in violation of paragraph 47 of the Police Act Chapter 11:10, which forbids police officers from active participation in politics. To associate with or affiliate to any other political party is a chargeable offence.
Section 16 of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Standing Orders Volume 1 provides that no political meetings shall be held at any police station, camp or quarters or to canvass any member to support another party. If found in contravention, the officer shall be guilty of an offence.
The Electoral Amendment Act under the Global Political Agreement provides that uniformed forces vote two days before the election under the watch of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s officers.
This effectively strips commanders of their duties to oversee the voting of police officers.