MRP confronts police over exemption letters

Members of the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) Wednesday confronted police in Bulawayo demanding answers as to why they were still demanding exemption letters at road blocks when the High Court has since outlawed that.

On July 29, 2020, the High Court barred the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) from demanding exemption letters and other documents from citizens at the police’s checkpoints and roadblocks.

This was after police released a detailed statement that outlined different documents citizens would need to produce in order for them to pass the various checkpoints.

Led by its youth, MRP first went to Bulawayo Central Police Station but were referred to the ZRP Southampton Building, to receive answers why police continued demanding exemption letters from residents, especially those coming from western areas.

In an interview with CITE, MRP Youth National Vice Chairman Calvin Wiseman Dube, said the party was concerned that residents continued to be harassed by security forces.

“We went to Bulawayo Central Police Station and one officer, who identified himself as Mabhena from the Law and Order Section, referred us to Southampton where we met one officer who identified himself as Moyo. We demanded to know why police and soldiers continue to harass people, especially when passengers are in a ZUPCO bus. They are told to disembark and produce these letters when it is a violation of the High Court ruling,” he said.

Dube said the officer told them the court ruled that exemption letters were only required after curfew time had elapsed.

“The officer said these exemption letters were written by the company one worked for and gave an example that a security guard reporting for night duty must carry his exemption letter written by the company he is employed by. But if people face challenges at the roadblocks, they must ask for the superior there, if they have no joy then can ask for the officer in charge at a police station manning the roadblock. However, to us we know the police ask for these letters wanting residents to pay bribes,” he alleged.

Dube was accompanied by MRP’s National Youth Executive member – Rodney Ncube, National Youth Organiser – Welcome Moyo, National Youth Security- lphithule Malahleka and Darlington Dube who was the party’s councillor candidate for ward 15 Gulati in Matopo.

MRP president, Mqondisi Moyo highlighted that residents must be well versed with current affairs and seek the party’s help if they faced injustices.

“We are willing to fight for people’s rights in our pursuit of justice. What our youth did, going to the police to address the injustice by police and soldiers is a commendable move. The High Court made a ruling that exemption letters are no longer compulsory at road blocks and that must be followed by the police. We don’t want to see police always harassing and tormenting people who need to enter the city centre,” he said.

Moyo said the reason why security forces continued to ask for those letters was a way of intimidating people not to enter the city.

“They are afraid that perhaps people may group together and demonstrate against this ‘illegitimate’ government that oppresses people. Citizens should be well versed with current affairs and know that it is unlawful for the police to continue harassing them for exemption letters. This is why we urge residents to go ahead and do their business without entertaining police and solder. We are against harassment and intimidation,” noted the MRP leader.

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