Police force needs serious cleansing

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) came under serious scrutiny in the past few days, the clearest sign the force is desperate for reform.

NewsDay Comment

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba all but accused the police of being a scar on the operations of the electoral management body in the way they conducted themselves in previous polls.

The force is also at the centre of a strange tug-of-war in Zanu PF, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa says he did not deploy them to conduct the party’s primaries, while notably, the President’s adviser, Christopher Mutsvangwa, has accused the cops of complicity in his loss in internal elections.

The conduct of the force, therefore, has to be scrutinised and from there remedial action has to be taken.

Previously, this newspaper has reported on police excesses, particularly what transpired in Parliament at portfolio committees, and, instead, what we got where acerbic comments from the cops, who seemed averse to scrutiny.

Now the genie is out of the bottle on police conduct and we wait with bated breath on what their response would be to these allegations.

If there is anybody that is desperately seeking reform, it is the police force, as in the court of public opinion, they are the most tainted of the security services.

Starting with the way they conducted themselves at roadblocks to the heavy handed approach they used when dealing with demonstrations.

Journalists were also victims of police excesses and to this day, we still wait for what happened to investigations into the assault of one NewsDay reporter by a rogue, uncouth police officer, who thought he was above the law.
Sadly, he continues to evade the proverbial long arm of the law.

We could go on all day about police excesses, but these few nuggets provide a compelling case on why the police force needs to introspect and then reform itself.

There have been instances where police officers have sought to engage journalists, but this is woefully inadequate, as the force needs serious cleansing and proper public relations and brand building exercise.

It is time the police force returned to the basics of policing, refer back to its charter and begin serving the people of Zimbabwe.

On their involvement in electoral issues, both national and Zanu PF ones, the country needs answers and we hope the mandarins in the force will see it worth their while to give the country an explanation.

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