Lovemore Meya Herald Correspondent
POLICE have been urged to be vigilant as the country approaches the 2018 harmonised elections as some elements take advantage of the polls to engage in crime. Speaking at the official opening of the provincial community relations liaison officers evaluation workshop (Press and public relations) for the year 2017 in Harare yesterday, Deputy Commissioner-General (Administration) Godwin Matanga said 2018 would be a hectic year due to elections.
“I wish to make it clear that the year ahead will as usual be a hectic one given that the country will hold elections to choose political office bearers of choice,” said Dep Comm-Gen Matanga. Experience has taught us that the period preceding plebiscites are often characterised by a lot of political activities. The election period itself requires a high degree of vigilance. Some misguided elements of society normally want to take advantage of the heightened political activity to engage in criminal activities that may lead to destabilisation of the country.
“This, therefore, calls for us all to come with robust and constructive engagement skills necessary to ensure that the period preceding the elections will be as peaceful as we want the actual elections and the post period to be.”
He said this calls for alertness in dealing with the situation.
“Your office, therefore, has a mammoth task of engaging people of diverse political opinions and ideologies, raising awareness on the need to maintain peace. As Press and public relations officers, you have an important role of monitoring the media, particularly social media, which now has the tendency of causing political turmoil and social upheavals, mostly in developing countries. While it is admitted that the advent of social media had its fair share of advantages, on the political side, it has been used by some cunning superpowers as a vehicle for driving the regime change agenda through spreading of political lies,” he said.
In her remarks at the same event, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the workshop was aimed at taking stock of what the officers were supposed to do.
“We are gathered here for a five-day review workshop meant to take stock of the targets we set for ourselves during the beginning of the year as per our action plan and to plan for the year ahead. We saw that we were operating without a guiding document, so we developed an action plan, which is now guiding all our provincial community relations officers, so that they know what they are expected to do,” she said.
She said during the course of the workshop facilitators will deliberate on a number of public relations aspects that relate to policing and come up with strategies to improve their effectiveness.
“In the process of reviewing the targets for the year 2017, we will also come up with resolutions to bind us as a section in 2017.”
Father Fidelis Mukonori from Silveria House, who were the major sponsors, urged the police to uphold their values.
“Let us teach our people to discuss how to agree without throwing a stone. If one throws the stone they should face the law without fear or favour,” he said.
The five-day workshop will end tomorrow.