Chihuri sets election tone

The Herald newspaper carried a front page story on 24 February stating that Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri had ‘spoken out’ against criticism of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

Chihuri
Chihuri

Chihuri condemned what he called falsehoods being peddled by the private media on the inefficiency and partisanship nature of the police and said there was “absolutely nothing partisan about a Zimbabwean police officer loving his country and being prepared to sacrifice and die for it”.

Chihuri made the statements to new graduates and reiterated his support of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF). His speech shows why Zimbabwe needs security sector reform. Chihuri had been quiet until now because his future was uncertain. His contract expired in December 2011 and, according to constitutional amendment number 19, President Robert Mugabe is obligated to consult Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on all such key appointments.

The President, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Arthur Mutambara haggled over this matter for weeks and the nation received two contradictory statements from its leaders.

The President announced that Chihuri had been reappointed long ago and that he was not obliged to consult anyone. Thus Comrade Chihuri was back on the podium on February 23. Quoting from the bible,Chihuri described those opposed to Mugabe as rebellious witches. Chihuri thus set the election tone by clearly identifying those the police would be dealing with. These included, “political activists masquerading as vendors”.

Here is the Commissioner General of the police, who talks the right talk of elections, democracy, peace, law and order, but is at the centre of failing the citizens of Zimbabwe on the same issues. If Chihuri is serious about playing the good cop, and defending the democracy he talks about, then he should stop the political othering mentality, a hallmark of his leadership.

Instead of instilling confidence in citizens, Chihuri’s statement is further testimony that the police force is partisan and that the coming elections are unlikely to present us with any changed attitudes and professionalism from the ZRP. – Rashweat Mukundu is a Zimbabwe journalist and human rights activist.

Post published in: News

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