Parly must reign in cops, army, CIO: RAU

The Research and Advocacy Unit has urged Parliament to play a more assertive role in taking to task national bodies such as the police, the army and the CIO who assist repressive rule by Zanu (PF).

“Parliament should haul in the agencies that are in breach of their constitutional duty and use its powers (limited as they might be) to insist upon compliance with the law,” says RAU.

If institutions set up by statutory instruments and the law are non-partisan then party-controlled shock troops like the Chipangano youth mafia outfit would not be able to break the law with impunity.

“The application of the law will put a stop to their illegal activities in short order,” notes the organisation. “When all the national institutions are overtly partisan, and, as we have seen, are mutually supportive, it is the citizens that must provide the oversight. The oversight function should be provided by Parliament, as the elected voice of the citizenry.”

Despite the fact the two MDC formations have a majority in the shared government with Zanu (PF), the current Parliament has failed to live up to expectations, with all sensitive issues being referred to the principals – namely President Robert Mugabe of Zanu (PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T and Professor Welshman Ncube of the MDC.

“(It) is crucial, that Parliament must be considerably more diligent and assertive than it has been to date,” says RAU.

Parliament has failed to take action against Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri who flagrantly disregarded the Police Act when he declared his allegiance to Zanu (PF) in direct contravention of the law, which explicitly states that police are not supposed to be partisan.

Under the law Chihuri should present to the Ministers of Home Affairs with annual reports detailing the activities of the Police Force for the year and the action should be taken in regard to policy directions given to him by the President and Minister of Home Affairs during the year. The Minister must lay this report before Parliament but the current is not taking any action to ensure compliance with this provision.

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