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Why I lost confidence in the police

NOVEMBER 2012 was a dark month for me as it was the beginning of a three-month ordeal at the hands of police officers.

BY NUNURAI JENA

This started with my arrest by traffic police officers stationed at Murombedzi Growth Point in Zvimba.

I had never seen the inside of a police cell in my 47 years of existence, but that month I spent two nights as a guest of the State — in the not-so-hospitable cells.

My crime, I dared to question the police officers’ action of wanting to ticket a passenger who had his safety belt fastened.

They claimed that I had accused all police officers countrywide of being corrupt, thereby undermining their authority.

What further baffled me is that they lied under oath in court.

Still on the Murombedzi case, I am sure the police became very hostile to me the moment they discovered through their counterparts that I am journalist.

I will not go into details of the Murombedzi issue because the case is pending before the courts, save to say that I was shocked to learn that four of the six police officers at the roadblock ganged up and framed me.

But what shocked me the most was how the police officers connived and twisted facts so that they could charge me with “undermining police authority” by claiming that I had labelled them as very corrupt officers.

As if that was not enough, some police officers visited me on the last day of last year and demanded to search my office.

Initially, I refused to be arbitrarily searched.

The officers claimed they wanted to search the offices of Zimbabwe Human Rights of Association (Zimrights), an organisation for which I am a board member.

Ironically, Zimrights has no offices in Mashonaland West province.
I finally allowed them to search my office in the presence of my lawyer and as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, they found nothing.

According to a search warrant, which was hastily drawn up after my lawyer insisted that they could only search my office after producing it, they were looking for “voter registration slips and other voting materials contrary to the Electoral Act”.

One notable irony on the search warrant was that it referred to the police officers as “peace officers” when their conduct was anything but that.

Cops thrive on telling lies

the police were at it again last Sunday.

This time, a police vehicle rammed into my car, causing serious damage at the back of my vehicle. I have my doubts on whether this was genuinely an accident, considering my ordeal at the hands of the police over the past three months.

It is difficult to accept. Again the police officer behind the wheel on that fateful day misrepresented facts. What shocks and infuriates me most is the degree to which the said officers are willing to lie.
He lied that he was alone in the vehicle at the time of the accident, when in fact he had a passenger.

Who is this person that he was trying to protect?

Secondly, the officer, a Mr Dube, stationed at Chemagamba Police Station, failed to produce a licence.  I still maintain that the officer is unlicensed.

I requested to see his licence from the investigating officer but up to now the officer has not produced one.

The reason I am insisting on the officer producing the licence is that just recently I saw him doing some driving lessons.
I was shocked to see him at the wheel of a police vehicle on the day in question.

The officer was then charged with driving without due care, an offence that attracts only a US$20 fine.

I am sure this was done to pacify me so I could stop insisting to see the officer’s driving licence.

If the officer had recently got a police driving licence, he was supposed to drive under instruction for six months.

But it is these blatant lies by police officers that made me conclude that besides the corrupt tendencies levelled against them by President Robert Mugabe last year in Gweru, they are a bunch of liars as well.

Back to the searching of my office, I think the shadowy Law and Order officers countrywide are an extension of some political functionaries masquerading as police officers.

Surely, how can the whole police force of about
20 000 people have their name soiled by a few rogue officers?

9 Responses to Why I lost confidence in the police

  1. manunure j January 14, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    treat a cornered cop like a cornered journo; with a pinch of salt

  2. Galaz January 14, 2013 at 3:52 am #

    That sounds like an everyday occurrence in Zimbabwe. The ZRP is not there to serve the people, just their political masters and their pockets. Dare challenge them and they will charge you with all sorts of laws

  3. George Harcourt January 15, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    There would be endless corruption and injustice unless there are effective independent organizations to investigate and control such crimes.

    The following need to be done;

    Set up and independent anti-corruption executive branch under the top level of government which cannot be influenced by the police or other executive branches of government.

    Set up a independent Police Complaints Office headed by judges or respected community members to handle complaints against the Police force.

    Zimbabwe has a reasonably good image overseas so don’t let it be spoiled by

  4. Man Ref January 15, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Test of your own ‘roots’. Journalists are worse liars. Only that which they support & like appear in the media. Why do you want the world to believe you? You are trying to look for sympathisers by abusing the media now. Why didn’t you write the cops’ version just below your version?some Journos are known to threaten pple with negative publicity if you don’t allow them to abuse you. How did the cops at a rdblock know that you were a journo? Wanga uchida kushamisira @ the wrong place & time. Allow the courts to finalise your case.

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  6. wakapiwa January 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Nunurai . they should have kicked the hell out of you. You should learn to respect vana va mambo.

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