Police demands affect constitution process

HARARE - The constitution making process's outreach programme started yesterday, and the police are half committed after the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) declined their initial demands.

Initially the police chief’s office handed COPAC a letter informing the board that the law-enforcing agency wanted US$3 million as a fee for their taking part in the process. In the letter they went on to break the fees into three categories. US$900 000 was meant for the purchase of police vehicles to be used in the process (26 top of the range Land Rovers), US$935 000 for paying allowances for police officers deployed on the mission, and rest of the money the police said was going to be for purchasing 23 000l of fuel, computers and duplication machines.

It is interesting to note that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is not a computerised entity. “Our job is not to fund raise for the police. They want to buy cars at our expense as well as computerise their system. We are a parliamentary sub-committee. In any case it is illegal for the police to demand money for carrying out state duties,” said one of the chairpersons of COPAC Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T).

The COPAC committee that includes Paul Mangwana, Douglous Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi, told the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs that the 65 day long process was in a security dilemma. Paul Mangwana, another chairperson (Zanu (PF)), said that the police should get funding from the Ministry of finance if there was need. “They should have approached the Ministry of Finance instead of a committee if they do not have the capacity to work,” he said.

COPAC gets its funding from donors through the United Nations Development Programme. The Zimbabwe Republic Police now say that they will provide only 350 officers instead of the 1 000 they had offered with a fee. “We are going to give the committee 350 police officers. How they will distribute them is their business,” said police spokesperson Andrew Phiri. The allocated officers will be sent out in batches of five to accompany each out reach team.

“Each team will go with five police officers. They will get allowances that will be paid out through the Ministry of Finance,” said Mangwana. Meanwhile, some members of parliament are not happy with the amounts of per diem allocated to them. The legislators are demanding US$75 per day while the select committee is saying that it is prepared to only give out US$25.

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