Police get thumbs up

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ELECTORAL watchdogs have hailed the move by the police to set up a separate unit to manage politically-motivated violence in the upcoming general elections.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn), said the move to set up the unit led by Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza, was a good sign ahead of the polls.

“Zesn welcomes the move by the ZRP to appoint Makodza as the 2018 Harmonised Elections Commander in line with section 133(H) of the electoral Act. In previous elections, the failure to set up the special police liaison committee on time impeded investigation of incidents of politically motivated violence that were reported to both Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Police,” Zesn said.

Main opposition MDC-T youth leader Happymore Chidziva, however, said they wanted to see the police act in a non-partisan manner first before taking their public statement seriously.

“We have seen the right statements from those in government and now the police but rarely the right action, we are waiting for the police to act in a non-partisan manner and to act professionally in line with the statements said by (Senior Assistant Commissioner) Charity Charamba, before we can say the police have turned a new leaf,” Chidziva said.

Election Resource Centre (ERC), also welcomed Makodza’s appointment saying it was an important move to ensuring peaceful elections.

“The development comes in the wake of continued calls by ERC, urging implementation of Section 133 of the Electoral Act to deter politically motivated violence.

In a report titled, From Mhondoro —Mubaira (by-election) to 2018 General Elections: Tracking Improvements to the Electoral Cycle, ERC made the case for implementation of Section 133H and J and has been consistent since then.

“To this end, ERC wrote to the four institutions mandated under Section 133H and J of the Electoral Act, imploring upon them to execute their mandate during by-elections.

The ZRP, ZHRC and the JSC responded to this call and set up shop in the Mwenezi East by-election in April 2017,” ERC said.

Previous elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by violence, intimidation and misinformation which resulted in disputed outcomes.

Charamba said the police were now going to work in a professional manner and discharge their duties without
favour.