Allegations of human rights violations by the Zimbabwe Republic Police are alarming.
Such accusations force citizens to lose confidence in their law enforcement agents.
Most cases are pointing the Police, while those reported will be water under the bridge. Although several cases may have been reported in the past, the latest one is that of a supposedly overzealous police officer who threw a teargas canister in a fully loaded bus.
Ironically, most of the incidents that involve police details take place during, or in the built-up to major national events, like the upcoming SADC anti-sanctions campaign scheduled for 25 October.
Also, in the coming days, the country is expecting a United Nations envoy to assess the impact of sanctions on the country.
The recent case in which the Police is accused of having thrown a teargas canister into a bus full of passengers, comes at a time when citizens recall a similar incident which happened earlier this year in Harare.
Last week, globetrotter and author, Yvonne Maphosa was also caught in a crossfire when an ethnic tussle broke out between herself and a policer officer who said she should only speak in Shona.
She posted on her Twitter page: “Harassed by officers Shoko & Matshaya @PoliceZimbabwe in Sauerstown, Bulawayo. Tribalism & making up laws in their heads! Telling me, ‘In Zimbabwe you must speak Shona’ and, ‘An RSA licence doesn’t work here’. And how can a policeman in Bulawayo speak Shona ONLY? Not even English.
Such incidents project the country in a negative light. Police officers must not harass citizens and visitors.
One will be forgiven to think that all these cases are not coincidental, but are planned to tarnish the country’s image.
The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Kazembe Kazembe, who is largely missing in action, is also to blame. He should lay down the law and rein in errant police officers. They should be taught to be responsible citizens who are accountable for their actions.
The UN will this month send a special rapporteur, at the invitation of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to Zimbabwe in an effort to assess the impact of Western sanctions on the rights of the Zimbabwean people.
Belarusian national, Alena Douhan, who is the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, is set to make an official visit to the country from October 18 to 28.
During this period Zimbabwe and the SADC region are set to commemorate the Anti-Sanctions Day, with the aim to push Western countries to remove trade and politically motivated embargoes imposed on the Southern African country.
With such high profile events playing out, it will be prudent for police details and the citizenry to paint a good image of the country, unless they are enemies of progress.
Source – Shelton Muchena