THE Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) and several MPs across the political divide yesterday rejected Statutory Instrument 74 of 2017, which seeks to form the Zimbabwe Republic Police Association, arguing that the statute gives excessive power to Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
MDC-T chief whip, Innocent Gonese, who presented the PLC’s adverse report in the National Assembly, said: “The wording of the provision is not clear whether membership is voluntary or compulsory and automatic by virtue of one being a duly attested member of ZRP, and if the latter is true, the provision is in contravention of the right to freedom of assembly and association guaranteed in section 58 of the Constitution.”
“The powers given to the Commissioner-General of Police in terms of section 6 of the regulations are excessive and encroach on the members’ right to freedom of association, as members may want to choose their leaders among themselves, who chairs and spearheads the work of the association since the Commissioner-General appoints the individuals mentioned above,” he said.
Gonese was supported by Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa (independent), Hurungwe East MP, Sarah Mahoka (Zanu PF) and Musikavanhu MP, Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T), who said it was unfair for Chihuri to force police officers join clubs they do not want to be part of.
“We should ban Kuyedza Club, where members of the police force are forced to buy materials at $50, when at shops they actually cost $7. The police are also forced to sell raffle tickets, and it is mandatory. If they do not sell the whole book, the money is deducted from their pay, and we have never heard of winners. We must rescue the police from being shortchanged,” Mliswa said.
Warren Park MP, Elias Mudzuri and Glen Norah MP Webster Maondera (both MDC-T) said Chihuri should concentrate on arresting crime and leave the welfare of police to the Police Services Commission.
But, Buhera West MP, Oliver Mandipaka and Buhera Central MP, Ronald Muderedzwa, who are both ex-police officers, defended the association, but were outnumbered.