'My mom despised police work'

HARARE - When she joined the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) at the age of 23, there were howls of disapproval from family and friends.

But today, national police spokesperson Charity Charamba looks back with pride.

Recently, she graduated with a masters’ degree in International Relations with Bindura University of Science Education and she is still aiming higher.

Last week, Charamba, also a holder of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Studies, Diploma in Adult Education from the University of Zimbabwe and a Diploma in Personnel Management from the Institute of Personnel Management of Zimbabwe told the Daily News on Sunday that her mother, in particular, was against the idea of her joining the police force as the profession was looked down upon as “a job for the academically less gifted”.

“Gone are the days when police officers were considered uneducated. It was a deliberate policy by the colonial regime to have an uneducated police force - which was largely dominated by blacks,” Charamba said.

She added that the colonial government did not want an educated police force fearing that it could struggle to contain the enlightenment that comes with education.

“After independence, we began to have police officers who were educated, although the majority of them were ‘‘O’’ Level holders.

“My mother even cried when I made the decision to join the police thinking that it was going to kill my potential because I was just about 23. But thanks to the authorities here, a deliberate policy to make sure that we can further our studies was adopted. 

“ZRP is in partnership with Bindura University and when I graduated, about 24 of the graduands were police officers.

“It was out of the realisation that we are dealing with sophisticated criminals, hence the need for educated officers. You will realise that those that are studying at Bindura University now also do courses in cyber crime in line with modern trends.”

Charamba described her academic journey as an arduous one as she had to balance between her official work, study and family.

“I had to learn to apply myself to fulfil all my duties as a police officer, mother and student but like I said, it was a tough call.

“I remember one day I left my office at around 3am. After finishing my police work around 7 or 8pm, I would stay in the office studying and writing assignments.

“The other time, I also remember, having  to ask my husband to give a speech on my behalf during a family function as I was going to arrive late owing to school work.

“But with perseverance, commitment and focus, you will always achieve.”

She dismissed the notion that government and Zanu PF bigwigs are in the habit of arm-twisting higher learning institutions to be awarded with degrees even when they did not properly study.

“Those allegations have also been levelled against me on social media with people commenting that vatanga vanhu veZanu kupanana madegrees efake.

“But let me tell them that degrees are studied for, they are never given on a silver platter.

“Some of us were in the same class with people young enough to be our own children.

“At first they laughed at us but in the end they realised we were up to the task as we competed favourably with them. It is all about hard work and dedication,” she maintained.

Her studies included courses in international law, the United Nations (UN), theories of international relations, politics in third world countries including some salient features of the politics in Africa for example, as well as international diplomacy.

“We looked at terrorism in the horn of Africa, in the Maghreb region, issues to do with the war in Syria, the Boko Haram menace and the kidnapping of the Chibok girls in Nigeria, some really contemporary issues and these are things that you can easily imagine because they are happening now.

“It helped on perspectives on what happens at the International Criminal Court (ICC), complaints especially from the developing world that the court is biased against especially African leaders while it turns a blind eye to probably some worst crimes committed by other leaders in the western part of the world.

“We also got to understand the UN structure and functioning. You get to appreciate why there is a cry from Africa that they also want a permanent seat in the Security Council.”

The police information tsar did a research titled Uniformed Women and Peacekeeping Efforts, Experiences and Lessons from the United Nations Missions in Liberia which she passed with a merit She said the topic was motivated by the fact that she once served in Liberia for three years on a UN mission where she was in charge of operations.

“My dissertation looked at challenges that policewomen face in the discharge of their duties, the stereotypes, especially at foreign missions where there are officers from varying backgrounds.

“I also drew comparisons from the reports of challenges emerging from the Kosovo mission, highlighting issues of sexual abuse of women and children in war-torn regions as well as the absence of women in top positions at the UN.”

Charamba also paid tribute to police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri for giving her the opportunity to learn.

“Being a PhD holder himself, he values education and he has done a lot for the police, so many officers are studying for various courses with institutions countrywide, particularly Bindura University.”‘

Comments (4)

BSAP and ZRP are miles apart in all spheres of operations. BSAP was a professional grouping whereas ZRP are crooks,political thugs/hooligans

Mukanya - 1 December 2016

Education is meant to emancipate people from vices of society. If one has a string of degrees under his/her belt but fails to use them to uphold the essential values and basic freedoms of a modern society then to hell with the degrees.

Hwacha - 1 December 2016

An impressive success story for Mrs Charamba. Wishing her more success in her life. To her husband ,we are proud of a man who support one`s spouse in the strive to excel if life.

Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof) - 5 December 2016

What a mother and leader. Keep it up Charity

Dharildho - 15 December 2016

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