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ZRP on the spot over tribalism

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POLICE have to effectively deal with allegations of tribalism levelled against their officers or risk losing the “little” credibility the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) it still has, according to analysts.

Report by Nduduzo Tshuma

The comments made yesterday followed reports that Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda had filed a complaint with police bosses over the alleged tribal abuse of her employee at a bottle store in Ntabazinduna by three police officers based in Mbembesi.

The three police officers reportedly visited the bottle store for drinks and accused the barlady of only playing Ndebele music.

The officers allegedly went on to hurl unprintable insults at the barlady, saying she was not educated.

Advocacy group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) last December also accused a group of police officers from Bulawayo of forcing them to speak in Shona.

The police officers allegedly told the women that “all Ndebeles were killed during Gukurahundi”.

Analysts warned that the complaints were potentially damaging and could spark hostilities against the ZRP.

“If the police do not do anything to the satisfaction of the people, it means that the people will lose the little confidence and credibility that they are left with,” said Dumisani Nkomo, a political analyst. “If the situation is not handled properly, people will take matters in their own hands.”

Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo said the issue had always been a burning one to residents.

“The residents no longer have confidence in the system. That is why we are advocating for all languages to be accorded the status of official languages in the new constitution,” he said. “This is a ticking time bomb where people will end up taking matters into their own hands.”

Another political analyst, Effie Ncube, echoed similar sentiments, saying failure by the police to deal with such issues on time would result in the people losing trust in the ZRP.

“The issue reflects that we have a big problem in the political leadership,” he said.

“They have been silent on these contestations around tribal issues. An example is that of a Zanu PF legislator who demanded that (Education minister) David Coltart speaks in Shona (in Parliament).
“The leadership should be able to live beyond tribal contestations.”

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