Crack police team to deal with poll violence
Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
Police have set up an Elections Committee and Special Investigations Teams countrywide to deal with political violence ahead of next month’s harmonised elections.
So far, about 83 percent of police officers have been trained on public order management.
In an interview yesterday national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the development.
“The ZRP is ready to ensure that the forthcoming harmonised elections are held in a credible, peaceful and conducive environment. The Commissioner General of Police (Godwin Matanga) has set up the ZRP Elections Committee which is coordinating police deployments and engaging with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on the modalities of deploying officers at polling stations countrywide.
“So far 83 percent of police officers have also seen trained on public order management and these include senior and junior members and we hope to complete the exercise by the end of this month,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said some of the officers had also been seconded at both district and national level to handle cases of political violence.
“The Commissioner General of Police has also set up Special Investigations Teams in all provinces to handle cases of political violence.
“In terms of resources and other logistics issues are being put in place. However, we would like to urge political parties that whenever they want to hold gatherings they should notify the police and that political leaders should also preach the gospel of peace,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said the more than 100 police vehicles commissioned by President Mnangagwa on Wednesday would be used during the elections.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said the handover of the vehicles reflected Government’s determination to heighten capacitation of the police to effectively discharge its constitutional mandate.
Speaking at the commissioning of the vehicles, Minister Kazembe said: “As the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage we are grateful that despite numerous competing demands, Government continues to respond to our plea for resources which enable the ZRP to effectively discharge its mandate.
“Your Excellency, we remain appreciative of your commitment towards equipping the Zimbabwe Republic Police with modern tools of trade as the nation gears for the 2023 harmonised elections.
“Indeed, the acquisition of the fleet of motor vehicles will go a long way to thwart all potential public disorders,” he said.
Minister Kazembe said like any police organisation worldwide, the ZRP required significant amount of vehicles to cater for operations which included scene attendance, public order management, patrols, traffic enforcement, border patrols and general administration.
On Wednesday, President Mnangagwa said police must maintain the highest degree of vigilance to guarantee maintenance of law and order as well as the protection of life and property before, during and after the forthcoming harmonised general elections.
He reiterated his administration’s zero tolerance to politically motivated violence and that his Government will never allow the present peace, unity and stability in the country to be tainted for the political expediency of a few rogue pseudo politicians.
He was speaking while commissioning 132 vehicles for the police, which include off road pick up vehicles, some of which will be assigned for border patrols.
He also unveiled a new name for the Morris Depot Police Academy, ZRP Mkushi Academy, as well as donating 100 computers and printers to the ZRP. The academy is named after the Mkushi Girls Training Camp in Zambia that was attacked by Rhodesian forces in 1977 massacring many of the unarmed female trainees.
“As you are aware, our country is now in election season with the harmonised general elections due to be held on August 23 this year. I wish to reiterate my administration’s zero tolerance to politically motivated violence.
“Violence, divisive tendencies and nefarious machinations are unacceptable and alien to our country’s politics. My Government will never allow the present peace, unity and stability in our country to be tainted for the political expediency of a few rogue pseudo politicians.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police must, thus, assume the highest degree of vigilance to guarantee maintenance of law and order as well as the protection of life and property, before, during and after elections. I exhort you, the men and women in our police force, to be watchful, pro-active and bring all perpetrators of politically motivated crimes to book, without fear or favour.
“Meanwhile, I want to commend our people, throughout the country, for showing a high level of political maturity since the proclamation of the election date. Let us all continue with this culture of peace, unity andoneness as we demonstrate that our country is now a mature democracy.
“The atmosphere that has characterised all political activities to date, is applauded. Going forward, I call upon the citizenry to say, no to violence in all its forms. Let us all cultivate, nurture and preach peace, unity, political tolerance, love and harmony,” President Mnangagwa said.
On commissioning the vehicles, the President said, his Government had repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to build the capacity of the police through the gradual modernisation and incremental provision of tools of trade.
“This consignment of vehicles, which is the third batch availed to the Zimbabwe Republic Police by the Second Republic, is part of a range of interventions we are making to elevate the capacity of the police force to deliver on its Constitutional mandate.
“It is equally with a deep sense of pride and reverence that we are also witnessing the official re-naming of the Police Academy from Morris Depot to ZRP Mkushi Academy.
“The facility is the country’s premier police training institution of excellence. Its new name is a befitting honour to the many sons and daughters of our motherland, Zimbabwe who sacrificed life and limb under the brutal racist Rhodesian regime, to bring about the independence, freedom, democracy, peace and stability we are enjoying today.”