Police violating Constitution, trampling citizen rights

The ZRP is brazenly violating the country’s Constitution, repressing citizens, proscribing legitimate political activity and treating the MDC as a terrorist organization in clear violation of the basic tenets of prudent policing as enshrined in the law and in international best practice.

Instead of servicing the Zimbabwean population in accordance with the laws of the land, the police service which clearly behaves like Boko Haram decimating and violating all forms of the rule of law.

We have seen the police service involved in serious human rights violations such as;

  • Disregarding court orders
  • Selective application of the law
  • Unnecessary abductions and assaults on innocent members of the public
  • Unlawful detentions
  • Denying and disrupting MDC meetings and peaceful demonstrations

It is pertinent to state that when the police are notified of any demonstration or meeting, it is not for them to approve but to deploy their officers to facilitate the exercise of the right to assemble. The police have become the source of all forms of riotous behavior and chaos in the country. They cannot stop any meeting or demonstrations because it is not one of their duties to do so but to deploy their officers to make sure that no crime is committed.

We feel there should be a deliberate retraining programmes for all police officers. There are so many criminal cases committed by the police, many of which go unreported for fear of victimization. Only such cases like armed robbery, rape, extortion and others end up in courts.

We demand that the police should come up with serious reforms to align them with Constitutional behavior and with international best practice. The Constitution and the law are very clear that for the purposes of preserving the internal security and maintaining law and order in Zimbabwe, there shall be a police service and every member of that police service is charged with the general duty of maintaining law and order by taking all steps necessary for:

    • Preserving peace
    • Protecting property from malicious injury
    • Preventing crime
    • Detecting crime
    • Apprehending offenders
    • Suppressing all forms of civil commotion or disturbances that may occur in any part of Zimbabwe
    • Upholding the constitution and enforcing the law without fear or favour
    • The police service must be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and surbodinate to the civilian authority as established by the constitution.

Emmanuel Chimwanda
Secretary for Defence and Security
Movement for Democratic Change