CABINET has instructed Home Affairs co-ministers Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi to investigate the alleged harassment of civic society groups by the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA
Police have in the past few weeks raided offices of ZimRights, Zimbabwe Peace Project in Harare and the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) in Bulawayo searching for alleged subversive material. Makone yesterday told journalists in Harare that Cabinet discussed the issue of alleged police intimidation, particularly in Lupane in Matabeleland North where potential voters who wanted to register were arrested a fortnight ago.
“We discussed the issue in Cabinet on incidents taking place, particularly in Lupane where people who wanted to register as voters were arrested,” she said. “It is important for the issue of some overzealousness of some police officers in discharging their duties to be addressed. Cabinet wants us to take action on overzealous police officers.”
About 40 people were arrested in Lupane after NYDT conducted a voter education exercise in the provincial capital. A few days later the organisation’s Bulawayo headquarters were raided by police. Makone said she was tasked together with Mohadi to investigate if police had not overstepped their mandate in the raids.
“A report will be made to Cabinet in a few weeks on the matter where a decision will be made,” she said. “Appropriate action will be taken in any case whether suspension, dismissal or what. Investigations will not exceed a week.”
Makone said President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were against police abusing their powers.
The minister also condemned the police for using teargas to disperse members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) who were holding a peaceful demonstration in central Harare yesterday. The women intended to petition Parliament on their grievances on the draft constitution.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai yesterday condemned the harassment of civil society by police during a meeting with representatives of the groups in Harare. His spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the Premier said the police were tarnishing the image of the country.
“The PM started by condemning the vilification and harassment of civil society, which he said painted a negative image of the country not good for Zimbabwe at a time we need all the confidence,” he said.
The meeting was called to brief civil society on the new constitution.