Friday, February 16, 2018

Mnangagwa challenges cops

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PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday urged the police to play a pivotal role in ensuring harmonised elections scheduled for this year are held in a conducive atmosphere through effective policing.

The country is expected to hold harmonised elections by July.

President Mnangagwa made the call while officially opening the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) New Headquarters and Forensic Science Laboratory in Harare.

"Allow me to reiterate that we are going to have free, fair and credible elections," he said. "As the country's law enforcement agency, we, therefore, expect you to play a pivotal role by contributing to the building of a conducive atmosphere that begets such a desired outcome, through efficient and effective policing.

"Government would thus do everything in its power to ensure that you are ready to adequately police the forthcoming plebiscite."

President Mnangagwa urged the police to deal diligently and decisively with all forms of political violence.

"Political players should not be allowed to flout the laws of this country, willy-nilly," he said. "We all have to play by the rules so that our citizens exercise their constitutional right to vote.

"Let me also take this opportunity to appeal to all political players and citizens to cooperate with the police as they exercise their constitutional mandate. The public should not provoke the police into breaking the laws they are supposed to enforce and in equal measure, the police should not provoke the citizens into breaking the law."

President Mnangagwa urged professionalism, unity, oneness, love, peace and harmony in the police force.

"Let us solidly rally behind what is good, our national ideals, aspirations and fundamentals for a peaceful, investor-friendly and prosperous Zimbabwe," he said.

President Mnangagwa said the ZRP faced public criticism on a number of occasions.

"Maybe, quite rightly so, since a lot is expected from our men and women in police uniform, who swore to uphold the laws of this great country," he said. "Whatever mistakes they make in the process of performing their duty, should not be buried underground, or glossed over, but be laid bare for public scrutiny.

"Lest we forget, the police profession is a noble calling that requires both personal and professional integrity, moral rectitude, the caution of chameleon, the agility and reflexes of a Formula One racing driver and above all, the sobriety of a judge, at all times.

"This must be understood against the background that policing exposes those in the profession to different challenges, which keep mutating with time and location. However, among the vast majority of those policed, are law-abiding citizens who have no wish to harm anyone."

President Mnangagwa said on the other extreme were ruthless and criminally-minded people who had no regard for decency or rules.

He said there were also un-nurtured, undisciplined and corrupt police officers who may not even bother to behave according to set rules.

President Mnangagwa said such challenges should be met with a high sense of restraint and responsibility.

"Admittedly, the challenges we face on a daily basis as a nation are phenomenal, but not insurmountable," he said. "They should never be allowed to wane our confidence, but must be confronted with the determination and resoluteness of the Biblical David when he met the giant and supposedly forbidding Goliath."

President Mnangagwa said the nation expected the ZRP to be imbued with the wisdom of the Biblical King Solomon to fight all forms of crime and be exemplary in their conduct.

"I am pleased to note that despite the discord that had engulfed the ZRP, the organisation now appears to be slowly, but surely pulling itself out of the morass," he said. "Hence today, we gather to testify the positive spirit of dedication and commitment that sees the coming into fruition of a project that has been outstanding for years."

President Mnangagwa said the construction of the CID Headquarters and Forensic Science Laboratory began in 1999 and the project was expected to be completed in 2001, but resource shortages delayed its completion.

"The completion of this massive and magnificent structure, which has nine floors, will no doubt, see the CID and Forensic Scientists move from the dreary, antiquated and modular structures," he said. "Most importantly, the Forensic Science Laboratory will enhance evidence gathering, processing and analysis.

"This will reduce the time and effort police often devote to searching for eyewitnesses of crimes as a lead to identifying a suspect. This vital laboratory brings in the vital 'silent witness' that is so critical to identifying suspects and linking them to the crime.

"As Government, we are now hopeful that ZRP is set to increase its crime detection rate, which should lead to a significant breakthrough in the administration of justice."

Vice Presidents General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) and Kembo Mohadi, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Cabinet ministers, Deputy Commissioner-Generals, senior Government officials, service chiefs, police chiefs from the SADC region, ambassadors and senior officers witnessed the official opening of the CID headquarters.