A Zimbabwean minister in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's cabinet has said that the police in Zimbabwe are not anything to be afraid of as they are not brutal and have lots of respect for the people. Kazembe Kazembe, who is the minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, made these rather incensing remarks in a bid to veil the human rights abuses committed by the Zimbabwean government.
Kazembe said, "I want us to look at other nations, I will not mention names, at what they do when people behave in the manner that our people sometimes behave. You will realize that Zimbabwe is not anywhere near that.
What I have realized is that our police respect the people and they are not brutal. What other people do is that they ignore the police when they try to contain the situation."
He was speaking to the media after a tour of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters and Police General Headquarters in the capital, Harare.
The Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Godwin Matanga gave Kazembe an overview of the problems that the police are facing. These include a shortage of office and accommodation, limited budgetary allocations, shortages of stationery and uniforms, shortages of transport and fuel.
The police in Zimbabwe run on very low budgets in the execution of their fundamental day-to-day activities. Take, for instance, a police officer working in rural parts may have to need to use their own car and their own fuel just to serve court documents and processes on people.
On the other hand, the security forces have been accused of being an appendage to the establishment of ZANU-PF rule under Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Often times, they use more force than required in dispersing peaceful and unarmed grouped of protesters. To say that they are not brutal is an insult on the generality of the populace. They often flout basic human rights. But another argument is, what can they do when they are ordered by their masters to inflict these heavy assaults on people?
The police in Zimbabwe are caught between a rock and a hard place. Leave the force, and you will not get any salary. Stay in the force, and with those measly salaries you are compelled to fight your own people.
The situation in Zimbabwe seriously deteriorated to the point that the vast majority of the population is living below the poverty data line. It is hectic.
And yet, people are surviving through the struggle. Faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, with heavy odds stacked against them, Zimbabweans are trudging through, hoping for a better day to come. Because to mount a protest means getting injured, or even killed by the security forces.
Header image credit - Pindula