Why are you using us to victimise citizens? Junior officers blast ZRP bosses ahead of 2023 elections


Junior police officers have raised complaints against being forced to be partisan in favour of Zanu PF, poor salaries and working conditions while their bosses are living lavishly, it has emerged. Police bosses have seen the letter, Standard is reliably informed.

In the letter titled, A letter of disgruntlement by junior members of ZRP at large, the junior officers complained that their bosses were being “too political” by ordering them to victimise civilians while they enjoyed the comfort of their offices.

The police officers said they were being dismissed unfairly on minor charges such as being late for parades while others were punished for refusing to take “unreasonable” orders.

“This letter is directed to the top, partisan, bootlicking, criminal, hypocrite commanders in the name of commissioners with their accomplice who is the CGP [commissioner general Godwin Matanga] and [Home Affairs minister Kazembe] Kazembe,” the letter reads.

“[Former police commissioner general Augustine] Chihuri and his command used to think they are above God.

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“The manner you are jeopardising us comes with a bitter end as long as you continue using us to pursue your political experiences, which is unconstitutional and criminal as well whilst pestering with dirty politicians (sic).”

The police officers said they were tired of being used as a tool to advance the Zanu PF agenda and being forced to attend the the ruling party’s Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology orientation programmes.

“Why are you using us to block every civilian space and by the end of the day you are the ones getting rewards for that leaving us languishing in hunger and poverty with those civilians,” the letter added.

“We need civilians for we are renting their houses, they sympathise with us every day in this hard economic environment.

“We board their vehicles to go to work where you will be giving us commands to beat them up.

“Can all of you answer this question? “You have weekly fuel allocations, airtime allowances that are more than our basic salary.

“Your children have access to better schools and you have allowances.

“You earn a million dollars and other benefits every day as thanks to a job well done where we will be sent to beat up people in the name of crowd control and that will be political and against opposition parties.”

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed having seen the letter when contacted for comment.

“If anyone has a genuine concern in terms of working conditions they raise their issues through the proper channels until they reach the commissioner-general,” Nyathi said.

“Disciplinary issues are handled by local officers in charge (OICs).

“If any member has any issue with the OICs, they can approach higher offices; the channel is very clear.

“So any member who says the command is not addressing issues of their welfare, I do not know where it is coming from.”

Nyathi said the author of the letter was misdirected and did not qualify to be a police officer.

“Some of the issues raised in the letter are very political, but the Police Act is very clear that those who want to dabble in politics should leave the force,” he said.

“Where a member is openly dabbling in political affairs and openly attacking senior officers as in this case, he does not deserve to be in the force.

“Issues of vehicles and uniforms as we speak now; there is something that is being done by government and it has been communicated to the command.

“Issues to do with their welfare; the commissioner-general has taken them to government and it has undertaken to address those issues.”

A recent analysis of police conduct towards elections by the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) revealed a pattern of repressive measures by police including selective application of the law when dealing with opposition parties and civic society organisations.

“Through use of repressive laws and adding their own unlawful actions such as arbitrary use of force and dragnet arrests, police have made it difficult and dangerous for people to freely assemble and associate especially during electoral periods,” the report reads.

— The Standard

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