Commissioner for life

We do not understand the obsession with having Augustine Chihuri as Police Commissioner. He has served as Commissioner for a combined 20 years. The Constitution and the Police Act allows the President to renew his appointment for one year only after his initial of four years.

There are sound reasons for the legislative protection. To re-appoint the same person 16 times is simply absurd. Chihuri has been Commissioner longer than he was in the ranks. It appears he has joined those who are in office for life.

The downside of this is that it demoralises the rest of the force who are getting older but know they will never get the top job as long as he is alive.

There is also the question of his suitability – particularly with regard to the phrase used in the Constitution and the legislation which specifically refers to “the public interest”. Chihuri has made public statements about his unswerving loyalty to Zanu (PF) in contravention of the Police Act, which prohibits serving officers from playing any political role.

With the arrests of several MDC ministers, MPs and activists in recent years, most of whom have been found not guilty by the courts of the trumped up charges preferred against them by the police, confidence in Chihuri’s ability to perform his duties professionally is severely compromised. Under Chihuri the police move with lighting speed to arrest MDC officials on the flimsiest of excuses, while corrupt ministers and murderers aligned to Zanu (PF) roam the streets with impunity.

Examples of Police Commissioners in other countries around the world having been corrupted by criminal gangs abound. In neighbouring South Africa, the commissioner was convicted of corruption and presently occupies a prison cell in Pretoria.

In many countries, criminal gangs are known to work hand-in-glove with senior police officers – hence the need to keep changing personnel to thwart the sustaining of such relationships.

Apart from having served Zanu (PF) well, Chihuri has not particularly distinguished himself as a police commissioner. On his watch the once highly respected ZRP has become the laughing stock of the region. The recent inquest into the death of former army commander Solomon Mujuru exposed the bungling that led to the contamination of exhibits which has made it impossible for forensic experts to determine the cause of death.

Certainly the ZRP under Chihuri is no longer fit for purpose.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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