Jawet Chiguvare 28 February 2018
HARARE – Trigger-happy Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers should at
all costs desist from using live bullets when controlling large crowds and
enforcing the law on suspects.
It is very sad that barely a week after two innocent citizens fending for
their families were shot dead, now emerges a leaked ZRP memorandum on
February 19 addressed to the officer commanding Masvingo Province, Martha
Mafolo detailing the shooting to death of a suspected turkey thief.
What is it with our police force that whenever they are investigating
suspected crime or when they are asked to bring order, they provoke people
and end up firing live bullets?
There wouldn’t be an outcry if our cops shoot or exchange gun fire with
armed robbers. No, infact they would be saluted for the acts of bravery
and ridding our society of malcontents.
The police must serve and protect and it thus defies logic when officers
go on to exhibit blatant and excessive heavy-handedness against the very
same people they are supposed to protect.
It may therefore not be far from reality for one to think our police
officers feel starved from using guns hence the overexcitement to just
pull the trigger even when faced with people holding stones!
Very few Zimbabweans own guns unlike in other countries where gun violence
is the order of the day.
Zimbabwe has the most peaceful people who do not want violence, moreover,
they are never armed as compared to other nationalities in the region.
Police in South Africa use live bullets when it is really necessary and
usually when dealing with armed robbers.
Last week, five of their officers and a soldier were shot dead by armed
robbers during a raid on one of their stations in the Eastern Cape
ZRP needs complete overhaul and retraining especially on crowd control.
Many people have lost their lives because of the force’s ignorance and
more importantly its gross incompetence.
ZRP should remember that citizens are at the heart of their operations.
The November 18, 2017 protests proved Zimbabweans are capable of engaging
in peaceful demonstrations without the presence of the police whose
policing methods and conduct always seem to trigger violence and
Zimbabweans for the first time were allowed to exercise their
constitutional right to demonstrate and petition without police
interference and it was peaceful .
ZRP needs to swap provocative and heavy-handed tactics in maintaining law
and order with peaceful and non-violent engagements with the public and
even suspects who most of the time are unarmed.
ZRP needs to swallow their pride and learn from countries such as South
Africa on crowd control and other policing methods otherwise we will
continue to lose lives unnecessarily at their hands.