EDITORIAL COMMENT: Stay calm, let police find the bombers 

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Stay calm, let police find the bombers 

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Stay calm, let police find the bombers | The Herald June 25, 2018

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Stay calm, let police find the bombers
First aiders attend to the injured following an explosion that rocked White City Stadium where President Mnangagwa was addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters.

The Government has shown commendable calmness in its reaction to Saturday’s attempt to murder President Mnangagwa, his two Vice Presidents and a number of top officials. Life goes on as normal, the election and associated electioneering are to continue, and the police are to be given time and resources in their investigation of what is a case of attempted multiple murder.

It probably helped in the decision to carry on as normal that the President, Vice President Kembo Mohadi and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga are all combat veterans from the liberation war and survived far more determined and better-equipped attempts to kill them. They can take a balanced view.

The police are obviously giving the investigation a high priority, and equally obviously are not speculating in public or giving blow-by-blow accounts of their routine in finding out exactly what happened and who did it. But it is the police who have the skills, knowledge, routines and resources to conduct these sort of investigations in a way that builds up adequate evidence to identify the suspect or suspects, arrest them, bring them to court and obtain a conviction after presenting evidence that proves guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

By now forensic experts, for example, must have examined the debris and have a very good idea of what sort of anti-personnel weapon was used. If outside laboratories are needed for the analysis, we have no doubt that they would be happy to help. The next stages are to identify who the perpetrator was and then to build up evidence to confirm this suspicion. While the attempted murder of a President builds headlines, the actual police investigation is routine, and the CID has an exceptional record of bringing killers and attempted killers to justice.

The public, as is common, have been asked to help by telling the police anything they know, no matter how minor, although a return to the old ways by a couple of security personnel who asked journalists to delete pictures was not helpful. As people think things through they will probably realise that the new ways are better.

While the press and public desire details and official speculation, we all need to accept that the police will prefer to build their case rather than mess things up with premature and unsubstantiated theories.

We would hope, as part of the process of normalcy, that when the person or persons responsible come to court the major charges will be attempted murder, and with 49 injured there can be multiple charges and enough aggravating evidence to ensure a long jail term on conviction. Trying to kill a President or trying to kill a beggar are equally reprehensible. Security law charges, if required, can be subsidiary charges.

There will be some changes to security. One of the most difficult will be to keep President Mnangagwa both accessible to the people and safe. Again, measured responses rather than racing to overreaction, are required.

We assume that security at rallies will have to be tightened, and that would include security at all rallies, especially those addressed by the 23 presidential candidates. They all need to be kept safe for polling day. We would guess that those attending rallies may have to go through metal detectors or some similar check and that there will be more security staff in the grounds.

Extra security must be offered to all candidates, but in the event that some do not want more police at their events then at the very least they should be given a briefing and be asked to hire a competent private security company rather than rely on amateur volunteers who may overreact without increasing safety.

We assume that they all want to keep their supporters safe, as well as themselves, so will take prudent and effective measures.

The public may be irritated by extra security and checks when they go to listen to their favourite politician, but should reflect that most of the injured on Saturday were ordinary people, not the people on the podium, and that decent security allows them to exercise their democratic rights in safety.

We all have the right to attend rallies of our choice in safety.
The best way to defeat the sort of people who throw or plant bombs at rallies is not to hide in quivering fear. It is to go about life and the election normally, but keep our eyes open.