Not only is the boy, because of his age, incapable of being a credible witness but also the mental torture he will go through as police question him will probably traumatise him for the rest of his life.
There surely must be a clause in the Police Act which says children below a certain age cannot be used as witnesses just as mentally-incapacitated adults cannot. Unfortunately this is not the first time children have been picked up by the police, so a worrying trend is emerging.
The Mbare image is a clarion call to the authorities that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in toto needs urgent reform. Recently, Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone told an MDC-T rally that Police Commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri must go because of the partisan way he is running the force.
This was out of her frustration with the ZRP’s politically-biased application of the law. But Makone should have seen the bigger picture, namely that the ZRP’s weaknesses go beyond the partisan application of the law to gross unprofessionalism and sheer incompetence.
This has been pointed out again and again in the media. Police corruption — particularly on the highways — has been an enduring theme in any discussion to do with the ZRP.
Last week they seemed to be doing something about it; 21 traffic policemen were suspended from the force for taking bribes; but this was a matter of too little, too late.
Recently, the police botched their investigation in the slaying of one of their number in Glen View by unprofessionally rounding up members of the MDC-T and trying to score cheap political points instead of going to the heart of the matter by sifting through evidence without blinkers.
Now the true killers of the officer may never be caught. South Africa reformed its police services soon after the end of apartheid. Similarly Zimbabwe ought to do the same as it goes through a painful transition.
Quote of the week
“It has to be a circumcision of the mind rather than circumcision of the organ,” Nelson Chamisa reacting DPM Khupe’s circumcision call.