Police, Judiciary under spotlight ahead of general elections

File picture: Zimbabwean police

POLICE and the Judiciary will be under the spotlight ahead of general elections to be held before end of this year, analysts said yesterday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seeking a second term when he faces off Citizens Coalitions for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa.

The opposition and other critics have complained about the shrinking democratic space ahead of the elections citing the Patriotic Act and Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Amendment Bill which was tabled in Parliament last year.

The Patriotic Act, falling under the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill which seeks to severely punish Zimbabweans for alleged crimes against the country including charging them with treason, was gazetted in December.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya bemoaned a deliberate assault on the democratic space ahead of the elections.

 “We are heading to the elections and I believe the Judiciary will also be under the spotlight. While looking at Ziyambi Ziyambi [Justice minister] and his Justice ministry they have to take the worst accolades for deliberately sabotaging electoral reforms and focusing on archaic legislation like Patriotic Bill and PVO Bill in 2022 and we are expecting the worst this year,” Ngwenya said.

Another political analyst Effie Ncube said the Home Affairs ministry which controls the police is one of the ministries to watch out for this year.

“In 2022, the worst of the worst of the ministries was the Ministry of Home Affairs. It has been the one spearheading attacks on democracy. As the ministry responsible for the police, it has been the lead actor in the unconstitutional and unlawfully preventing opposition parties and civic organisations from holding peaceful gatherings,” he said.

“We are going into the elections and all eyes will be looking on how the police are going to act during the elections.”

Political analyst Rashwet Mukundu said: “I think police and Judiciary need to up their game in 2023 as most people will be expecting them not to deal with politically-related issues in a partisan manner,” he said.

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