Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo has routinely swatted away allegations of police brutality, but the pictures in yesterday’s NewsDay are a damning indictment of the force’s conduct.
Source: Can anyone still deny police brutality? – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 22, 2016
Yesterday, we published gory pictures and a story showing how police officers physically abused suspected demonstrators in their custody.
It was also galling to read that other suspected protesters could not sit and had to follow proceedings while lying on the floor on their stomachs because of the injuries they sustained.
It must be reiterated that no matter the circumstances, police officers have no right to assault people in their custody, as the law forbids that.
The Constitution and basic human rights forbid the police from carrying out such extra-judicial punishment and we can only wonder whose bidding they were doing with such dastardly actions.
One thing that the police should know and understand is that we live in a global village and each time something like this happens, the pictures spread far and wide and embarrass President Robert Mugabe, whom they think they are protecting.
Mugabe was yesterday due to give a speech at the United Nations, but as he spoke, some of the world leaders were probably asking themselves what kind of leader allows his police officers to terrorise people in such a fashion.
The cops are not endearing themselves to the people, as such actions lead to loss of faith and trust in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), which can only be restored if the offending cops are made to account for their actions.
Examples of police brutality abound, but the force, including Chombo, have dismissed some images as being “photoshopped” and it would be interesting to hear their response now that such barbarism has been shown in court.
What is heartening is that the victims of this alleged savagery have identified one of the officers whom they accuse of abusing them and we hope they sue him in his personal capacity to serve as a warning and an example to any would-be police offenders, who may be tempted to take the law into their hands.
Recently, the ZRP was at pains to say Zimbabwe is not a police State and now they have a chance to prove themselves by throwing the book at the officers who assaulted the Glen View protesters.
Chombo also has to issue a very strong statement condemning the actions of the police, failure of which this will all, but confirm that Zimbabwe is paying lip service to the rule of law.
It is crucial that the police not only include a human rights module in their training, but also entrench this in their work. Otherwise they are only helping to see the growth of Zimbabwe’s pariah status.