POLICE Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri, has warned opposition political parties to stop pushing for President Robert Mugabe’s ouster before the end of his term, but wait for another opportunity to challenge him in the 2018 general elections.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Addressing officers commanding police districts and provinces on the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), Chihuri on Friday vowed to crush any demonstrations against Mugabe’s rule.
“The motive of these demonstrations is to try and remove a legitimately-elected Head of State, as if those wishing were denied the opportunity to participate in the previous elections, where they failed dismally and, as if there are no chances of any elections in future,” Chihuri said.
“Everyone knows that there is the ballot in 2018, giving everyone a chance to go and try their luck once more. Their perpetual demonstrations cannot be condoned. They should wait for the ballot.”
Chihuri, who has publicly declared his allegiance to Zanu PF, accused the opposition parties of engaging in acts of violence and disturbing peace “because they are driven by hate and a political desire to cause mayhem and anarchy.”
He ordered his subordinates to toe the line or jump ship.
“I am aware that some among you may be suffering from certain illusion (mutyutyu) and ignorance, but I want to make it abundantly clear that we are dealing with matters of national security and, therefore, we expect each and every one of you to play
ball within the dictates of the law. Those that feel they cannot stand the heat are free to jump ship,” Chihuri said.
His comments came at a time police officer commanding Harare district Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, has banned peaceful demonstrations in Harare’s central business district for a month.
Chihuri also defended police heavyhandedness in crushing demonstrations, saying: “Indeed, policing experiences the world over, even in mature democracies, is that no social deviants, the criminally-minded would ever thank the police for thwarting their criminal intents. If this was to happen, it would be analogous to a rat thanking the cat for patrolling its home. So it is not surprising to hear the buzz phrase of ‘police brutality’ from those who wish to employ violence to unseat a constitutional government.”
The police boss added: “Brazen attempts aimed at vilifying the police as a brutal and heartless organisation will never dissuade us from discharging our constitutional mandate.”
Chihuri also insinuated that anti-government demonstrations were always designed to coincide with key regional and international events such as Sadc, African Union, European Union and United Nations Summit summits in order to blackmail Mugabe’s government and please “Western funders”.
He appealed to Attorney-General Prince Machaya to ensure people with financial means “and spurred by evil agendas” were not allowed to challenge and abuse the law.
“At times, there are occasions when we feel facts are not properly represented or that the Attorney-General’s Office has acted unilaterally or on their own volition without representing our interests and those of innocent citizens going about their daily chores and the nation at large.”
But opposition parties yesterday reacted angrily to Chihuri’s utterances, accusing him of “partisanship and acting like a Zanu PF political commissar”.
“One of the mistakes was to allow people like Chihuri to continue in office. They act as if the Constitution was not changed.
Demonstrations are like the 2018 elections — a constitutional right,” People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “Chihuri is not a politician. He has no business lecturing to opposition political parties when to and when not to stage peaceful demonstrations. Chihuri should not adopt a condescending and patronising attitude to Zimbabweans. In fact, he is part of the problem and not part of the solution.”
MDC’s Kurauone Chihwayi also lambasted Chihuri, saying he was trying to curry favour with Mugabe while attempting to defeat the people and the Constitution.
“Chihuri is trying to be relevant in the political sphere in Zanu PF. In this attempt, he is trying desperately to speak Mugabe’s language, including that of attacking the judiciary and threatening the people. He has acted in the most unprofessional manner in his quest to be a loyal service chief to Mugabe,” Chihwayi said.