POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has undertaken to introduce human rights courses as part of police training after pressure from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA
ZHRC chairman Jacob Mudenda yesterday said he had met the police chief sometime in March this year and he agreed to introduce human rights courses in the police training syllabus.
Mudenda told the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Human Rights that Chihuri agreed to the proposal that could soon be implemented to spruce the police force’s tattered human rights record.
“On March 4, 2013, we met police commissioners headed by Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and we agreed that the police must be exposed to human rights issues, especially the promotion and protection aspects,” Mudenda said.
“We were informed they have a syllabus that they are following during their training sessions and we are looking at the syllabus and we will partner with them if we are satisfied it covers human rights issues.”
Chihuri and other service chiefs have publicly expressed their displeasure at proposals to reform the security sector saying they were sponsored by the West.
The Global Political Agreement, which created the inclusive government, states that members of the uniformed forces should be trained in human rights, international humanitarian law and statute law for them to understand their roles and duties in a multi-party democratic system.
Gutu senator Empire Makamure (MDC-T), however, said ZHRC should also have visited the Zimbabwe Defence Forces since they were on record making controversial statements.
“Why is it that the commission has avoided visiting the army? They should move with speed and go there because of some utterances they have made, especially since we are going to elections,” he said.
Some senior army officials have made disparaging remarks about Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, saying they will not salute him if he won the next election.
Army boss Constantine Chiwenga recently described Tsvangirai as a “psychiatric patient in need of a competent psychiatrist”.
Mudenda also disclosed that with a poor budget and operating with just two offices in Bulawayo and Harare, the commission will not be able to monitor the forthcoming elections.
Mwenezi-Chivi senator Josaya Hungwe (Zanu PF) said there was no basis to call the ZHRC a commission as it was poorly funded.
Mudenda revealed that the commissioners were yet to agree on conditions and terms of service, adding that they were still negotiating with the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs.
ZHRC, the former Matabeleland governor said, made a bid for $6, 5 million, but was only allocated $1, 5 million.
Commissioner Japhet Ndabeni Ncube told the committee that in the ZHRC Act there were clauses that still compromised on the independence of the commission and it was for that reason that former chairman of the commission Reginald Austin resigned.