POLICE officers in Bulawayo have allegedly been told to safeguard their jobs by registering to vote and casting their ballots for President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF during the upcoming elections, The Standard heard.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Sources in the force said the officers were allegedly told to show patriotism by voting for Zanu PF during the elections. This was reportedly said at the strategy workshops for police officers held in Bulawayo recently.
“The message was clear, that we should all make sure that we register to vote and vote for President Mugabe and Zanu PF during the upcoming election to save our jobs,” said a police officer, who cannot be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the press.
The sources said the workshops, conducted and facilitated by the Police Professional Updating Centre (PUC) based at Drill Hall, were held under the title, Public Order Strategy Workshop.
The Standard heard the workshops were being conducted countrywide, but it could not be verified whether officers in other cities were also being told to vote for Zanu PF.
However, the sources indicated that the “vote for Zanu PF” message was the buzzword at all the workshops countrywide.
“The history of Zimbabwe, liberation history and the state of preparedness of the police, was also discussed during the workshops,” said one of the sources.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed that the police force was holding nationwide election preparedne-ss workshops, but denied they were being directed to vote for Zanu PF and Mugabe.
“They are held countrywi-de,” said Charamba.
“But it is not true that police officers are being told to vote for Zanu PF or any other party.”
Police Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri has previously openly declared his support for Mugabe and Zanu PF, although he is supposed to be apolitical.
Directive is an attempt to rig elections: Analysts
Analysts last week condemned police authorities for directing officers to vote Zanu PF, saying this was a violation of their rights.
“This buttresses the view of the people of Zimbabwe that there is a calculated attempt to rig the elections using state machinery like the police,” said Effie Ncube, chairperson of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango).
“Members of the police must be allowed to exercise their right to vote without being guarded as if they are disabled people. even those that are disabled have a right to make their own choices.”
Pastor Anglistone Sibanda said: “This is a sign of electoral fraud and confirms what we have always said, that rigging starts happening way before the voting and counting of votes.”
He said it was unfortunate that Sadc and other international observers were not aware of such incidences.