Paradoxes of police hypocrisy

HARARE - Whoever said Zimbabwe is a country-and-a-half is the most genius contemporary philosopher of our time.

Recent news that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had placed under punishment three of its officers for a period of two weeks baffles the mind. The three officers’ punishment is as a result of an “offence” that they committed, attending a rally of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Notwithstanding the naked zealotry exhibited by the police force’s top brass pertaining to politics in general and allegiance to Zanu PF in particular, it leaves a lot to be desired for the sad developments that are fast crippling in our police force: parading of bias and double standards unto which issues of equivalent prominence are handled.

Law can only meaningfully be law if it is applied indifferently to all citizens. When the same law is given unequal prominence and applied selectively then it ceases to be law.

The news has had the most disturbing effect because it has the police at the centre stage of the storm.

When the police who are supposed to be the custodians of the law on behalf of the entire citizenry demonstrate bias, then the trust the citizens bestow upon this important organ of the society wanes away.

The news story had it that the police officers Courage Manyengavana, Marshal Zindoga and Lovemore Mupedzapasi are being held at Chikurubi Support Unit Camp having been arrested on May 9 for attending an MDC rally in Mashonaland Central Province’s Guruve area.

The valid but now baseless allegation upon the officers was that the trio was putting the reputation of the police force into disrepute by attending political rallies and should be punished.

Whilst legally there is a claim within the charge at list as accorded by the Police Act, it is also a fact that the provisions which bar members of the force from actively indulging in politics have since been sacrificed on the altar of political expedience.

It remains a joke of the century for the police at this critical juncture to arrest, dismiss, punish or condemn any of its officers on the grounds of political affiliation or allegiance. People have it on record that one of the senior police personnel, Oliver Mandipaka is eyeing a parliamentary seat in Buhera under a Zanu PF ticket.

Mandipaka’s moves did not stop him from being promoted to a much lucrative and senior post in the police since recently he was elevated from being chief superintendent to assistant commissioner.

If Mandipaka a senior policeman entrusted to serve and protect all people without fear or favour as assistant commissioner can not see what is wrong with his actions of intending to contest a parliamentary seat whilst still an incumbent of high ranking at the police, then one wonders why the three officers should be punished, simply for attending a rally.

 A politicised and partisan security service will struggle much to demonstrate its professionalism except for the rhetoric made by its bosses at every limited forum they encounter.

The dearth of moral courage and professional integrity in Zimbabwe’s security realms is so pathetic and embarrassing.

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.” - Alexander Rusero

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