- Zimbabwe police are “corrupt, ignorant, partisan, ill equipped, underpaid, and poorly trained”
President Robert Mugabe influenced the operations of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in violation of the constitution, a report said.
“Although the ZRP is officially under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Office of the President controlled some ZRP roles and missions,” said a report of the United States government issued last week.
The global human rights report covering 2015, produced by the US state department cited cases in which the 92 year-old dictator misdirected the operations of the police. It said that the cops were trained on allegiance to Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and assured of impunity if they erred.
“Government efforts to reform the security forces were minimal, and there were no reports of disciplinary actions against security officers who erred in ZANU-PF’s favor in their official conduct. Training on allegiance to ZANU-PF for securing the country’s sovereignty was commonplace, while authorities rarely provided training on nonpartisan implementation of the rule of law or human rights,” the US report said.
The report also accused some cops of “ignorance of the provisions of the constitution (which) compromised the quality of police work”.
“Police were ill equipped, underpaid, and poorly trained, particularly at the lower levels. A lack of sufficient fuel and resources reduced police effectiveness. Poor working conditions, low salaries, and high rates of dismissal resulted in corruption and high turnover. The government changed pay dates for security forces on a month-to-month basis,” the state department said.
The report said although the constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, “some laws effectively weakened these prohibitions”.
“Despite the law, security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained persons, particularly political and civil society activists perceived as opposing the ZANU-PF party. The government continued to enforce laws in conflict with the constitution,” said the report.
It added that “implicit assurances of impunity and a culture of disregard for human rights contributed to police use of excessive force in apprehending and detaining criminal suspects”.
“There were no internal or external entities to investigate abuse by the security forces. There were reports authorities investigated and arrested corrupt police officers for criminal activity during the year, but there were also reports of police officers punished or arrested on arbitrary charges for failing to obtain or share illicitly gained funds. State-controlled media reported that at least 300 traffic police officers were fired for corruption, including receiving bribes from motorists, in 2014,” the report said.
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