Putting the cart before the horse

Other than foolish and misguided optimism, we fail to see why anyone would have expected a mere 29 months of coalition rule to have somehow transformed Zanu (PF) and its allies in the military into a new party of democrats committed to free and fair elections.

From day one when this administration was born with its lofty – but never truly pursued – agenda to usher in a new kind of politics in Zimbabwe, it was or ought to have been clear to all that a new beginning was impossible without fundamental security reforms.

By not investing more energy and effort into pursuing reform and restructuring of the army, police and other security forces, the MDC parties, the Southern African Development Community and its mediator, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, have failed Zimbabweans where it matters most.

Change is impossible in Zimbabwe when the police and every other state security organ are no more than tools at the disposal of Zanu (PF) in its quest to rule this country forever.

An election roadmap or a new constitution – that Zuma and the MDCs apparently believe can solve all our political problems – can never transform police chief Augustine Chihuri and his officers into a professional police force. They abandoned their constitutional role as an apolitical law enforcement agency long back.

For the past decade and more the police have stood idly by, and, in some cases, even cheered as so-called war veterans and other hired goons ransacked commercial farms, and beaten, raped, tortured and murdered thousands of Zanu (PF)’s political opponents.

They even turned on the victims of political violence and abuse, arresting women for daring to report that they had been raped at Zanu (PF) torture camps and all the while letting their attackers to go scot-free.

And the police, once again, chose to look the other way while Zanu (PF) youths and other criminals wreaked havoc, stoning cars and beating up people to disrupt an MDC rally in Chitungwiza last week. Chihuri and company are clearly stuck in pre-2009 mode.

Surely, the need for comprehensive security sector reforms could not be more urgent than now! Holding an election while the Zanu (PF) political commissars masquerading as professional soldiers and policemen remain in charge of our security forces is, to use the tired cliché, simply putting the cart before the horse.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga
  1. Mutetwa

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