Mandipaka gets top post

HARARE - A senior cop gunning to represent Zanu PF in the upcoming general election has been rewarded with a top post within the police force, the Daily News can reveal.

Oliver Mandipaka, who is campaigning to be Zanu PF candidate in Buhera has been promoted to assistant commissioner from chief superintendent.

Asked about Mandipaka’s promotion, police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said: “Why are you asking me that?” before directing further questions to chief police spokesperson Charity Charamba.

Charamba’s number was unreachable when we sought comment.

Mandipaka’s professional lapses in campaigning to run for Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Buhera on a Zanu PF ticket, in apparent breach of the law enforcement agency’s resign-to-run rule,  has cost the police’s integrity dearly.

Co-Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone said she was unaware of the police promotions, but requested written questions so that she could ask for an explanation from the police.

But that has not stopped the spokesperson from being promoted to the elite service of the force within two months of the sensational Daily News expose.

While Mandipaka was unreachable for comment yesterday, he told the Daily News recently that he was not quitting the force despite campaigning to be a Zanu PF MP: “Yes, what deters me from running?”

Asked further if he was going to quit given that his actions were apparently in breach of the Police Act, he said:  “There is life after the police force. Munhu haafire muchipurisa. (I can leave the force, it’s not like I will die a cop.)”

Under police injunctions, he should have been dismissed because staying in office while actively campaigning is a breach of the law on integrity.

The Police Act clearly states that a police officer who intends to contest an election shall resign from office before embarking on a campaign or the date of the election.

Mandipaka has been distributing fliers in Buhera, showing him in Zanu PF regalia.

Following his recent ascent to the coveted ranks of the police, Mandipaka has remained in the police force even though the law requires police officers aspiring for political leadership to choose between the civil service and politics.

All officers are enjoined to maintain a clear division between their duties as police officers and political affiliations and sympathies.

A member is regarded as in breach of the Police Act “if he or she joins or associates himself or herself with a political organisation; canvasses any person in support of, or otherwise actively assists, a political organisation; displays or wears political regalia; attends a political meeting or assembly when wearing the uniform of the police force or any part of such uniform likely to identify him or her as a regular force member unless as part of his or her duties; asks questions from the floor at a political meeting; publishes views of a political character or causes them to be published in any manner or media; or does any other act whereby the public or any member thereof might reasonably be induced to identify him or her with a political organisation.” - Gift Phiri, Political Editor

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