Cops should not target victims

HARARE - The Chinamhora communal lands’ ritual murders have left a sour test in the mouth, particularly in this modern age.

As such, we can only welcome the move by police and army to keep vigil in the villages to protect residents who are understandably living in terror after the murder of seven people in two weeks.

However, a disturbing trend is emerging. One which, like the murders, has no place in modern society.

We recently reported on how police and army officers are now victimising residents, the same victims of the ritual murderers.

We heard from locals how they have become targets of police brutality, their crime being to walk at night even in their backyards.

The law enforcement agents should conduct themselves in a way which endears them with the community.

Certainly the police need the cooperation of locals if their investigations are to bear fruit.

Brutalising that same community is one sure way of alienating people who are vital in the investigations.

There is no justice in arresting haunted villagers and we call upon the police not to target the victims.

Instead the police should put their act together and get to the bottom of the murders.

It really defies logic that a whole village which includes people who lost relatives and friends should now face the wrath of the police and soldiers.

Between callous cold-blooded killers and the police, there is nowhere to run for hapless villagers who are caught between a hard place and a rock.

We are not police officers but we believe the police should diligently carry their work without resorting to violence as is often the case.

Little wonder that whenever people see a police officer, they do not feel confident to share information. Instead, they are scared at the possibility of such an encounter.

And indeed that is what is now happening in Chinamhora.

It is time that Zimbabwe’s police demonstrate that they are not a brute force but a unit whose mandate is to protect the people.

We have in the past witnessed a crack unit from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) investigating and arresting deadly armed robbers and this is what we still want to see happening.

Ritual murders have no place in modern society and this message needs to be put across to all fly-by-night business people who believe that such heinous acts promote their businesses. - Wellington Gadzikwa

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