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Deplorable behavior of Zimbabwean police officers

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We were recently invited to a crusade at our local police station.  The main speakers at the crusade were Sergeant Zimbeva and Sergeant Sibanda. My wife was skeptical.

“Do police officers actually go to church?” she enquired.

I told her there is no way of knowing who is a teacher, who is a nurse or who is a police officer at Sunday service. Her skepticism was based on the deplorable behavior of police officers: At best it is not Christian and at its worst, it is criminal. I have always known that public perception of police officers was not good, but I did not know it went as far as bunching them up into a group of heathens.

There were powerful messages at the crusade, like Word Power, A glimpse into the Future, Why so Much Suffering, One Life that Changed the World, Created for Eternity, Right and Wrong – Does it Really Matter and many other messages. Those two police officers who were doing most of the preaching were not the cocky, arrogant, corrupt, violent officers we see on a daily basis.

We stay close to a police station and we witness the rotten behavior of police officers on a daily basis: the constant arrest and beating up of people by the police at the shops, apparently for public drinking. But then we see police officers drinking and urinating right in front of our children. We see police officers setting up roadblocks a few meters from the police station for the purposes of collecting bribes from emergency taxi drivers. The police officers move in droves whenever they are broke and are in search of bribes, but do not take on actual crime: when there was a spate of muggings in our area, about fifty meters from the police station, we reported the matter to the police. They did nothing, did not even bother posting a patrol.

A cell phone recently disappeared at the small shop that I run. The young woman who had lost her cell phone reported the matter to the police. Three male police officers came to the shop to ‘investigate’. After they had left, it was generally agreed that the police officers were being so diligent because a beautiful young woman had reported the case. They were interested in sleeping with her but not the case was the general opinion. I suggested that the main problem was that Zimbabweans do not know the law. Someone countered by saying that it does not matter whether you know the law or not, because the law is not followed.

I found this rather disturbing. Does the Minister of Home affairs, well, the Minister(s) of Home Affairs actually . . . do they know that the police officers out there do not have a shred of dignity? I guess the police need to do a lot of public relations. The logical starting point would be doing their job and doing it properly.

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