Police criticised for selective application of the law

Women have bemoaned the selective enforcement of the law by law enforcers and the failure to protect women involved in politics.

This came out during an online meeting, Thursday, organized by the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) on promoting peace and security of women during the electoral cycle.

This follows the attacks on female politicians belonging to the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in Insiza by suspected Zanu PF assailants.

Bulawayo proportional representative Jasmine Toffa was badly injured and is currently receiving treatment at a private health facility in Bulawayo.

“We have laws in place that are supposed to protect us, we have the criminal law codification act, it criminalizes acts of violence against not only women but all the members of society, it’s an offence to do assault, public violence, it’s called disorderly conduct, so what really has been lacking is the law enforcement that is letting us down as women because those laws are sufficient but if only the police could enforce them up to the level that we expect them to enforce those laws,” said development practitioner and lawyer Nikiwe Ncube-Tshabalala.

She said the laws should guarantee the security of women during elections.

“We don’t know what really is happening on the ground, we don’t have anything tangible to say this is how they do their work, so thus where we are having a challenge, our women, as a result, are not secure at all because the laws are there but who will guarantee that I am not going to be attacked if I go to Plumtree for example to exercise my political right,” said Ncube-Tshabalala.

“We have seen women being attacked already, someone is in a hospital bed now, with two broken arms and we are saying what have the police done, have they accounted for her assailants? The measure that has to be put is to rope in all the stakeholders, especially the law enforcement, I think they are letting us down.”

Ncube-Tshabalala said the police should enforce the law without distinction of political party affiliation.

She added that the campaigning ground or the electoral ground has not been level for women.

“We have seen women being labelled, insulted, degraded in a manner that is inhuman, being called names, some of them being beaten up, some of them being injured in the processes and no being able to fully campaign and reach out to areas where they want to be candidates or where they got their own interest, thus in violation of the constitution,” she said.

In addition, Precious Ndlovu from Youth in Progress Trust in Bulilima said it is unfortunate that in Zimbabwe, police continue to apply the law selectively.

“So, when we talk about peace and security it seems to be a foreign issue in the Zimbabwean context because we don’t believe in our security system, police force,” said Ndlovu.

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