The Herald (Harare)

12 July 2013

Zimbabwe: There Will Be Heavy Police Presence During Elections: ZRP

Photo: Sokwanele
Saturday morning market outside Bulawayo City Hall

There will be greater police presence in all the constituencies across the country to ensure a peaceful harmonised election, a senior police officer said yesterday. National police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri told journalists at a media workshop on election reporting that police will be resolute in taking action against those who violate the law so that the July 31 harmonised election will be smooth and peaceful.

"We are going to heighten our vigilance and tighten our policing system by maintaining heavy police presence to maintain peace and order," he said. "We have activated our reserve or auxiliary force to augment the regular police numbers. We are being pro-active so that we prevent explosive situations."

The Southern African Research and Documentation Centre media workshop was aimed at generating deeper understanding of the country's electoral framework and processes by journalists in the country.

Supt Phiri said the police force would not compromise the safety and security of Zimbabweans during and after the elections.

"We have gone a gear up in preparing for the harmonised election by mobilising more personnel to prevent the occurrence of untoward incidents," he said. "We will be very decisive in dealing with both intra and inter-party violence."

He said no major case of politically motivated violence had been recorded so far, something which he said, was a major plus for the July 31 harmonised vote.

Supt Phiri reminded supporters to stay calm while campaigning and follow rules and regulations to ensure a peaceful election.

He declined to comment on media speculation that more than 60 000 officers were earmarked for deployment and to vote under the special voting facility.

"So many figures have been thrown around in the media. I do not want to be part of this confusion. I don't think we are better positioned to tell you about the numbers. Take it to our employer - the Public Service Commission," he said.

Despite the financial constraints, Supt Phiri said the police force was ready for the election. He said the police force had managed to explore a number of initiatives to generate income to finance some of its activities. He urged journalists to exercise self-restraint and report accurately about the election to ensure peaceful elections.

The workshop deliberated on a number of topics which included the Sadc electoral guidelines, media ethics, access to information, the role of local and foreign observers as well as the work of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The gender dimension of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe and its implications for the 2013 election was also discussed.

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