‘Mugabe Must Go’ protests expose police

A HUMAN rights watchdog has said the recent “Mugabe Must Go” protests have all but shamed the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and proved Zimbabweans are capable of engaging in peaceful demonstrations.

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

Zimbabweans flooded the streets on November 18 demanding former President Robert Mugabe steps down after 37 years of misrule.

The police were conspicuous by their absence during the historic protests that proceeded peacefully under the watchful eye of the military.

Police have been known for their heavy-handedness when dealing with protesters and for their unrestrained use of teargas.

“This was the first time that Zimbabweans have been allowed to exercise their constitutional right to demonstrate and petition without police interference in a long time despite the Constitution being clear in section 59. The recent protests have revealed that the violent parties in protests and demonstrations are actually the police,” the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said in a letter to the ZRP dated November 23.

The letter, titled Zimbabweans are capable of protesting peacefully, read: “The November 18 protests are sending a message to you Commissioner-General [Augustine Chihuri] and the entire ZRP service to rethink your approach to citizen protests. Indeed, the peace and calm that prevailed on this day must inspire the ZRP not to assume the worst about Zimbabwean citizens.”

Under the country’s laws, the Public Order and Security Act makes it a crime to hold public meetings or street protests without police clearance.

Civic society groups and opposition parties have often accused the ZRP of deliberately denying them permission to hold public gatherings, resulting in violent confrontations, while Zanu PF activists are allowed to do as they wish.

ZPP urged the police to emulate soldiers who allowed Zimbabweans to take to the streets without any hindrance.

“Police are urged to swap provocative and heavy-handed tactics in maintaining law and order to methods used by the military on the day, who were seen and demonstrated they were friends of citizens on the day.”

The ZPP added that the ZRP needed to also learn from countries such as South Africa on crowd control policing methods.

“We must emulate other countries such as SA that maintain a database on protests and public violence. The data collected from this has revealed that policing methods and police conduct are often the catalyst of violence. The ZRP must also keep such data and use scientific methods in crowd control to mitigate unnecessary infringement of people’s rights,” the ZPP said.

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24 Comments

  1. Chihuri must be fired and follow his G40 cabal

  2. Zimbos are disciplined and it is unfortunate that hired crowd disturbers would always be planted in the crowd by police to cause commotion and justify their intervention at any given time and all was exposed when the soldiers entered the seen

  3. The new president must desolve the whole of the zrp. Jus make them patrolling officers like the neibourhood watch. They must remove the arresting powers.

  4. True, ZRP IS USELESS JUST LIKE THAT IDIOT FORMER RULER WHO DESTROYED THE COUNTRY FOR 37 YRS.
    ZRP MUST BE DISSOLVED.

    1. YOU ARE NOT LOOKING DEEP BROTHER LETS ALL UNIT AS CITIZENS AND PUT BLAME TO THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON CHIHURI.THOSE WHO WERE SENT ON THE GROUND ARE ALSO COMPLAINING ABOUT HIM,HE WAS THE TROUBLE CAUSER.POLICE DETAILS WERE TRAINED TO WORK ACCORDING TO THE INSTRUCTIONS AND THEY DO WHAT THEY ARE TOLD TO DO WITHOUT OPPOSING,SO IF THE GENERAL CHANGED THE DO AS PER THE NEW GENERAL INSTRUCTION.THATS WHY SOMETIMES THEY DONT REASON.

  5. our brand new president is a unifier he is not going to revenge ,he is preaching the gospel of unity,he is concentrating on reviving the economy,gone are the days when we used practice hate politics

  6. People you should understand that ZRP is Chihuri(who was defending the interests of Mugabe) and those members who were deployed on the ground do according to Chihuri orders to secure their jobs.Thats all about Zim security they were deployed to to secure but to put fear and to disturb the ongoings of the opposition.last year the army also feared those demonstrators last year when they moved around in their Helicopter but when Chiwenga had a misunderstanding with Mugabe and he gave orders to his units to react the oppossite way.Lets not blame those sent on the ground but the Commander of Polie

  7. Yah i agree with you Shona they was no leader in the police force and in the country because even how they were deployed at roadblocks and how Charamba tried to coverup issues of roadblock targets shows that the command were criminals.But suprisingly Chihuri is still in the office,not even arrested for his attempt to arrest Chiwenga.Is it because they are fear of him or they are just like Mugabe who wanted to work with criminal.

  8. Chihuri must go.

  9. Mr President, congrats. Plse let there be no unnecesarry road blocks. People HATE THEM. We are waiting.

  10. I think Chihuri will be gone by the end of next week. He and his ZRP are definetly the instigators of the violence.

  11. Please do not use SAPS as an example of how to handle protests! They allow rioters, which they call protesters, to loot, burn, stone, damage property etc before they eventually step in to do their job, which is to maintain law and order. An extremely bad example of a disciplined police force/service.

  12. the people were only peaceful because they were afraid of the army hitmen. believe you me, that had nothing to do with discipline.

    I have followed previous protests the police would just wait until thugs start throwing stones

  13. Sekuru Chaminuka

    Comment…@surveyor, its not true that people were peaceful, its the presence of armed soldiers they feared. ED is a brand new second president who in 2008 ensured Gushungo remained in office. Today, we know its the gun that controlls politics and ED remains in office at the pleasure of Chiwenga, Zimbabwe’s strong man.

  14. Comment…Chihuri truly has to go and follow his master Bob. Chihuri used our brothers and sisters to cause hatred between civilians and police. Is he not ashamed that pipo marched on the 18 Nov without police and all was intact.

  15. People were very peaceful as always it was not fear of the friendly army, the army as a proffessional organisation did not provoke the peaceful citizen exercising their freedom of expression, unlike the unproffesional ZRP who behave like uneducated thugs who seem like they were only trained to use the button stick and teargas against their own citizens. Chihuri must go um happy he was embarrased at the NSS in full view of the new and fresh President.

    1. Umkhonto ka Shaka

      Where was the army in 2008 when Tsvangirai won elections and govt delayed announcing results

  16. WHERE IS MY TAXI 767,I WANT TO GO TO THE MOON. WITHOUT CHIHURI

    1. NOW IF NOT BEFORE ( SASA )

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