HARARE – Lilian Timveous, the MDC shadow Home Affairs minister, says the country’s police force needs retraining and re-orientation to ensure high levels of professionalism and efficiency in dealing with criminal elements in society.
In a press statement yesterday, Timveous said the recent incident in which at least 14 graves at the National Heroes’ Acre were desecrated by a mentally challenged man raises questions about the vigilance of the police and security forces.
Last week, Titus Ruoko (24), allegedly sneaked into the national shrine behind the back of security personnel and tampered with the graves of Elliot Manyika, Lloyd Mbombo Gundu, Charles Njodzi Dauramanzi, Stephen Nkomo, Sikwili Khotti Moyo, Rodello Lifa, Brigadier-General Armstrong Paul Gunda, David Karimanzira, Ephraim Masawi, Solomon Mujuru, Cain Nkala and Herbert Chitepo among others.
“It is hard to believe that a place that is protected by a 24-hour guard of police and ZNA personnel could suffer such damage. Naturally, the public wants to know where the police guards were when the destruction happened,” Temveous said.
Police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri has often boasted that he commands the most professional force whose competence has seen it being repeatedly called up for peacekeeping missions in Africa and beyond.
Timveous said such incidences will only help to further erode public confidence in the force both locally and internationally which she argued was already very low.
“We need to have a modern, efficient, reliable and professional police service that is able to meet the needs and requirements of all who live in this country or visit,” she said.
“The MDC therefore believes that the ZRP should be restructured and its members should beretrained and re-oriented to maintain peace and stability, limit crime and deal effectively with criminals and violations of the law, through the promotion of a rights-based approach to policing.
“That includes evaluating the physical and mental state of suspects to see if they are fit to go through the requirements of the criminal justice system,” she said.
Ruoko has since appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa and is awaiting trial.
Investigations had revealed Ruoko had stopped taking his medication at the time he committed the alleged offence.
Mugwagwa ordered that Ruoko be examined by two medical practitioners before the commencement of his trial.