OPPOSITION parties have accused the police of perpetually violating the country’s Constitution by actively participating at Zanu PF rallies when they are supposed to be apolitical.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora said it was illegal for the police band to perform at Zanu PF political rallies.
“The Constitution (section 11) requires them to be apolitical and they were at yesterday’s rally, they were furthering the political interests of one party. It means, therefore, this election will not be free and fair as law enforcement agents will be partisan, the army will be forced to be partisan, so will the CIO [Central Intelligence Organisation],” he said.
Mwonzora challenged Zanu PF leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stand by his word and stop hiring the police band to entertain Zanu PF supporters at rallies.
“Imagine the police playing at a MDC rally, would that ever happen? … We will not attempt to invite them because we will not attempt to make them break the law. A police band can be hired to play at private functions, but the Constitution is clear about their involvement in politics,” he said.
The MDC-T has vowed to approach the courts to put the police in their place in line with the laws of the country.
National People’s Party (NPP) secretary-general, Gift Nyandoro said the conduct of the police reflected that “the old Zanu PF is still very much alive”.
“The abuse of State resources for party gain reflects political collusion between the military administration headed by ED (Mnangagwa) and the executive apparatus of the State. This demonstrates that nothing new was ushered by the military regime. Rather, it’s old wine in a new bottle,” he said.
Mnangagwa recently pledged to end the Zanu PF party-State conflation, saying there should be clear distinctions between their functions.
This came following reports that police officers and army helicopters had facilitated voting and distribution of ballot papers respectively during the just-ended Zanu PF primary elections.
Contacted for comment yesterday, police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba defended the police band, saying it was open for hiring to any event.
“The police band is open to anyone. It plays at weddings, graduations, even for NGOs [non-governmental organisations]. This does not mean to say we then become political by playing there. The function you are talking about, the police band was actually hired to provide entertainment while His Excellency [Mnangagwa] was opening a dam. It was not about Zanu PF,” she said.