10 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Cop's Arrest Signals the Worst to Come

THE recent detention of a police officer for reported involvement in politics could be a precedent that the force will be hard-pressed to follow.

Assistant Inspector Collen Musorowegomo was recently imprisoned for 12 days for his involvement in politics after he wrote a report critical of the police force ahead of the 2008 elections.

His lawyer, John Mugogo said his client had been charged "for violating the Police Act by actively participating in politics".

However, the police have their work cut out, as there are a number of senior police officers who are openly dabbling in politics.

This has led to observers calling for security sector reforms, as the police are often seen to be partisan, particularly supporting Zanu PF.

Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri has come out openly declaring his links to Zanu PF, with critics claiming that because of this, he could not perform his duties professionally.

"We are part and parcel of the revolution. We cannot be divorced from that revolution. those who are thinking of leading this country without respecting those who fought for it must stop dreaming," Chihuri was quoted as saying.

In 2011, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai fought a losing battle as he tried to stop President Robert Mugabe from re-appointing Chihuri because of alleged partisanship.

Police spokesman, Oliver Mandipaka is also reportedly eyeing a seat in Buhera, while a Superintendent Muponora is also reported to covet a seat in Mount Darwin.

But observers doubt that the police will be able to also clamp down on these officers who are openly engaging in politics, saying since they were on the Zanu PF side, they were likely to remain untouched.

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