MDC to confront govt on ‘rogue’ police officers

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will continue putting pressure on the government to investigate the alleged deployment of military officers into the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

This comes after claims that soldiers and members of Zanu PF were dressed up in police uniform and deployed to crush anti-government protests organised by the MDC.

Last week Harare witnessed tense confrontations where members of the anti-riot police descended on protestors after the courts stopped the opposition party’s ‘anticipated’ march.

In an interview with CITE, MDC Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs, Innocent Gonese said the deployment of the military was a cause of concern that should be looked into according to law.

“This is something which has been brought to our attention that some of the people who are masquerading as police are not. It is obviously something which people have recognised, with some saying it was members of Zanu PF, perhaps it is members of the military and so on,” he said.

Gonese said should these reports be found to be true, they would confront the Zanu PF  led government.

“It is really unbecoming for people to be given uniforms when they are not members of the uniformed police. We have raised the issue and will continue raising them. We’ve made the reports and really we will continue pressing them (authorities) to do their constitutional duty,” he said.

Commenting on the abductions of party members, Gonese urged the police to carry out due diligence impartially.

“I believe it is the responsibility of the police to make sure that if people are abducted they apprehend whoever is responsible. We are not Boko Haram (implying the party would not go vigilante), we are a law-abiding party and we should expect that the protection should come from the police,” said the MDC legalist.

“If you are a country which believes in constitutionalism and upholding rule of law you should have the law enforcement agencies to do their job.”

Gonese added that the MDC was clear and emphatic that it would organise peaceful demonstrations contrary to state claims.

“As far as we are concerned there should be no bloodshed whatsoever, we have already indicated in our letters of notification to the police that we want to have marshals who assist us in making sure there is no violence. We have already pointed out in terms of the demonstrations which we have organised as a party there’s never been any violence, if you look at Harare there were hundreds of thousands of people involved there was no violence whatsoever,” he said.

He claimed that the reason why people talk of violence was the police were the ones who provoked protestors.

“The police are the ones who come to unarmed civilians and start beating them up. That is the violence such as what happened at Tredgold Magistrates building. (This happened Monday where the MDC was briefing journalists on the outcome of their appeal case and that of arrested party members when anti-riot police threw tear gas to disperse them).

“It was clear journalists were there and they saw it with their cameras and cellphones there was no violence but is the police who started dispersing everyone, yet it is normal that people want a briefing on what would have happened in court, something which happens in any country,” Gonese said.

As to the way forward seeing that authorities had banned their demonstrations, Gonese noted that the MDC leadership would sit down to review the situation but vowed to continue putting pressure on the government.

“We will cross the Rubicon when we get to the Rubicon,” said the MDC legalist.

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