Editorial Comment: Mnangagwa should tread carefully on police rationalisation

LAST week, the Zimbabwe Republic Police “retired” more top-ranking officers in a move seen as the renewal of the force to reclaim public trust.

Editorial Comment

There has been a lot of movements in the police force since last November, when former President Robert Mugabe resigned under military pressure.

The police are being made the fall guys for being caught up in the power struggle between Mugabe and his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.

But what has become worrying is the decision by Mnangagwa’s government to retire senior officers simply on the basis that they have reached 50 years of age or have served the force for 20 years.

This does not only become wrong to change someone’s contract in the midst of his career, but immoral to treat only the police in that manner when government has moved the retirement age for soldiers from 65 to 70 years. To the victor goes the spoils?

To say the least, retiring someone who could live up to 80 at the age of 50 is condemning them to a life of poverty in a country with a high level of unemployment, particularly if the police force has not equipped them with entrepreneurial skills.

Some still have children of school-going age and such an abrupt end to their employment contracts before they make plans for the future of their children is cruel. They made plans basing on the contracts they were holding that allowed them to work until the age of 65.

Treating police with disdain and giving preferential treatment to other security apparatus like the army and Central Intelligence Organisation will create disunity among the security organs and resultantly, cause political instability.

The sad thing is that Mnangagwa, on July 30, was elected to lead the country at the age of 75 and will be 85 by the end of his second term, if he should run and win the 2023 elections. And yet he expects other able-bodied people to be seated at home at the age of 50.

Mnangagwa is the leader of the country and he should treat all the people fairly and equally. Victimisation by a national leader cannot and should not be tolerated. Spare a thought for the children you are condemning to abject poverty because their fathers have been thrown out of employment prematurely.