Police apology noted but...

HARARE – One of the key determinants to passing a character test is being able to admit your mistakes and apologising.

That is extremely difficult.

Not many can do it.

But the Zimbabwe Republic Police did it.

That is commendable.

In making the apology to the nation on Wednesday, acting Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga said the police had to redeem itself and regain its long-lost reputation of being the “eye of the nation”.

That is true.

Police must and ought to mend their ways.

Zimbabweans were angry, and still are, with the law enforcement agents, hence their disappointment following the announcement that they were resuming normal duties.

The people feel the police have since abdicated its mandate — law enforcement.

To the citizens, police have become a bigger threat and menace to the society than the criminals. They were now labelled as corrupt extortionists who fleeced desperate motorists and other innocent victims who fell prey to them. The countless cases of cops who have been dragged to court over corruption prove it.

Though they have apologised, shaking off that corruption tag will certainly not be easy. It will be a lot of work to regain the fed up people’s trust and confidence.

Apart from the ubiquitous roadblocks, the nation was baffled by the rising road carnage. Why did so many people have to die due to road accidents yet they would have passed so many police roadblocks and check points?

The police must also stop those infamous targets they imposed on their traffic section. That fuelled corruption and greed. Police’s duty and mandate is to enforce the law and maintain peace and security; not seek profit.

But the corruption, useless roadblocks and fundraising targets were not the only ill practices by the police.

Their transgressions also included brutality and unfair harassment of innocent citizens, let alone the dangerous and reckless use of spikes.

So many people suffered in the hands of the police.

Remember that elderly Chitungwiza woman — Lillian Chinyerere — whom they allegedly brutally attacked at the Harare Magistrates’ Court under the guise of trying to control rowdy protestors.

Not only that. The police brutality reached shocking unprecedented levels. They even maimed our journalists — Mugove Tafirenyika and Brighton Goko — among many other media practitioners they have unfairly harassed.

Without digging deep into the police’s tainted record, the apology has been noted, but it must be genuine and sincere. The people are keenly watching.

The police are not above the law.

Their mandate is clear — enforce the law.