Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Violent induction for police recruits

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This shocking 2-minute video shows police officers beating the new recruits at a Zimbabwe police depot.

One by one, recruits come up to a small group of policemen, lie in a push-up type position and are beaten on the buttocks with sticks. They are then dragged off to lie down on their stomachs off to the side, or are kicked out of the way. These are not beatings of rage or annoyance. They don’t even look like they are punishment for a selected “non-performing” police recruit. Rather, they are orderly and methodological. It’s only when a recruit resists, or acts too “soft” that the beating lasts longer. The recruits know the drill and get into position. The officers deliver the blows and move onto the next victim. In the video you can see the recruits who have already been beaten – and the queue of others waiting for their turn.

The video is reminiscent of the images that came out of Abu Ghraib– the policemen laugh, threaten and insult the recruits with cries of “kill him” and “beat him.” In one frame one officer takes a picture of the beatings with his camera phone. But in a way it is all the more disturbing that the police are beating their own co-workers.

What are the implications for policing in Zimbabwe if this is how new recruits are “hazed” by their superiors? Is it any wonder then that the police are quick to respond to civic demonstrations with violence, and that there are frequent reports of detainees being mistreated by the police? What are the long term psychological implications if this is how police routinely deal with their own? If your superior beats you for being new on the job, what more might he (and in the video they are all men) do if he thinks you have disobeyed him?

The Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees the Zimbabwe Republic Police, is now co-held by Zanu PF’s Khembo Mohadi and the MDC’s Giles Mutsekwa. Email the Ministry on moha@gvt.co.zw and the MDC on mdcnewsbrief@gmail.com and demand that they investigate these beatings and change the way the police force is run.

9 comments to “Violent induction for police recruits”

  1. Comment by Catherine:

    This Video is more than appalling. The officers responsible must be bought to book and quickly. The younger generation will grow up believing that violence is the norm.

  2. Comment by Guide Ndawana Makoni:

    Are they inducting them in preparation for the next elections? Are these ‘suspected MDC supporters’? Remember thats how they are expected to think when they are qualified. How on earth does training for a job require beatings and ill treatment? What kind of a policeman do they hope to create?… one that says ‘urikuti warohwa?…hausati!!…obviously using their training as a benchmark for the required level of professionalism! How do we get them being invited for international duty after this? Well…these are our African standards! In any case what do you expect from the likes of vana’Chihure’. THEY DONT EVEN WANT A DEMOCRATIC ZIMBABWE.

  3. Comment by gp:

    what acountry they are not recruits on police training but thats what they will be employed to do in the next zanu / mdc campains . whether you arrest the instructors the seeds of violence have been planted. bring back BMATT TO TRAIN ANEW ARMY AND POLICE . We must remove this cycle of violence in zim.

  4. Comment by …My heart’s in Accra » Watching the police:

    [...] the everyday life of a nation. Kubatana, a coalition of Zimbabwean civil society organizations, is sharing a disturbing video of police training. Police inductees are being forced to assume a push-up position, then are beaten by senior [...]

  5. Comment by Colletah Chitsike:

    This video and others that are being shown are a sign of the madness in Zimbabwe. The only way to end this is to have a new political paradigm. There is need for a complete overhaul that excludes ZANU PF and (MDC to certain extent)
    I find it sickening that the whole nation is being asked to make amends in many ways to make up for the suffering that was induced by a few who are still living large and luxuriously without any refernce to the mess and suffering that they have created. AIWA AIWA!!!!!!!. More people should use the anger that they have at creating real change rather than vent that anger in cruel ways as shown in the video—Everyone in Zimbabwe is angry–one sees and hears this anger in all sorts of ways–what a pity because Zimbabweans are a regal people with dignity and joy embedded from their ancestors–Why are we allowing the sweeping of serious injustices under the carpet–this only hides a bigger problem in the future!
    These officers must be brought to answer for this behavior. The need for healing that calls for the guilty to answer their crimes against humanity cannot be emphasised.

  6. Comment by Joe Pindahworks:

    I urge the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Zmbabwe. Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to effect an urgent policy audit in the Training Police Department will special focus to weed out inhuman practices in that governmemnt insitution and beyond, so that together we come up with a civilised Zimbabwe and its citzens.

  7. Comment by tc:

    This disgusting violence echoes things I can remember from my school as a teenager – a sadistic place in Willowvale, Harare. Form 1 boys were subjected to some sort of initiation which involved being beaten by older boys. The older boys’ defence of their actions was that it had been done to them too. Arbitrary beatings were also carried out by some sicko teachers. Years later I had a conversation with someone from the school who remembered it fondly and said that these kind of things were “character-building”. The only criticism I’ve ever read in Zimbabwe of this “education” system is John Eppel’s “The Giraffe Man”. Thank you J.E.
    I don’t want to put the two things on a level but just to say that the roots of this kind of sadism go back a long time and extend into many levels of our lives. I think we need to all think about how it exists/has existed in families, schools, the workplace (including, for many people, the house with the domestic servants receiving the brunt of a lot of problems, power struggles, anger, powerlessness, that have nothing to do with them).
    “The need for healing that calls for the guilty to answer their crimes against humanity cannot be emphasised.”

  8. Comment by william james obrien jr:

    what’s to say? truly a picture’s worth athousand words – and all to the more > moving pictures, video of brutality and rage institutionalized put-into-bad-practice put up for us tosee – to witness or for those of us who have felt the blows before at some other time, in some other space…or/and in our memory know/felt whatit’slike to suffer that cruel rain on our/my face and whta’s left for us to do? for those hurt before – we know how it’s memory’ t’is crippling and threatens to freeze us with our past/still fears…..but…da watila ai we..wabatata o tango aiwe !….”if you run…hey..you are the loser!” however these images/hard plain facts may hurt and scare us….WE WILL NOT RUN! and is more WE WILL NOT FIGHT! to use their alwful violence will deminish us and turn us not into what we pray to become….peace and freedom with land/law and justice is ours’ t’is everyones’ and hard is the road where we’ll stand and demand it holding-each-others’-hand..walking…driving forward begging god’smercy..pad werk voor..peace

  9. Comment by Natasha:

    Explains a lot of police behavior. They have a real large bone to chew with everybody, having gone through this they take out their revenge on innocent motorists, and peaceful campaigners. its like this is how they are trained on the propers use of baton sticks