A police state

So Didymus Mutasa has only just discovered that ZRP are worse than BSAP? Where has he been for the past 30 years?

Judging by where we thought he was – in government – we are all somewhat surprised that he hadn’t noticed that ZRP is all too often BSAP with a different cap badge and 30 more years of experience to make its villainy more villainous and sometimes – God help us! – more efficient.

They have always been a political force. In their BSAP incarnation, they would “only investigate crime when on their side of the colour line”, as one poetic comrade put it. That is still true, with them on the other side of that line now. And they seem fully occupied by crime against high-up people in their own party. “Zvenyika” remains just as much of a crime as in the old days.

Things began to get really bad when Ian Smith changed the law so that, instead of reporting to the Minister of Home Affairs (and he reported to parliament), the police commissioner only reported to the Prime Minister – Smithy himself. Even having their activities scrutinised by an all-white parliament was better than answering only to one man. Even that parliament had a few liberals in it from time to time.

But Smith, in effect, put the cops above the law. After a while, they realised this and only told him what he wanted to hear or what they wanted him to hear. That gave them tremendous power. They could feed him stories to persuade him to do what they wanted. Naturally they used the same trick on the new PM in 1980. They were only ordered to report to the Minister of Home Affairs again for a few years after 1990 and he once told me he knew he wasn’t getting the whole story. The cops continued feeding their stories to Number One.

Did you hear the stories that there were 13 (yes, thirteen) attempts on his life in the first year of independence? His cronies did. You and I, being less paranoid than politicians tend to be, would question whether those stories were all true. A politician is more likely to “increase security” in case they were true. S/he thinks that safer than asking such questions. And our man was certainly a politician, with at least the usual politician’s share of paranoia. Is it any wonder that 30 years down the line, nobody can tell him anything he wants to hear? BSAP, aka ZRP, must take their share of the blame for that.

Now there is a new man in the PM’s office. Though they say they won’t salute him, that’s not the main issue. They could do that and still feed him so many scary stories they’d have him in their pocket. Maybe it’s better that they don’t salute him. We all know where we stand.

Unfortunately, they have other ways of making him so defensive that we, the povho, can’t get to him because of “security reasons”. If that happened it would be very dangerous. Very dangerous indeed.

Post published in: Opinions

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