Zimbabwe police deny favouritism and brutality accusations

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The MDC says 10 of its supporters have been killed in the violence while 3000 others have been displaced from their homes, in what the opposition party has described as a war being waged by state security agents and ZANU PF militias against Zimbabweans.

from our correspondent in Harare

Meanwhile, MDC has accused police chief Augustine Chihuri of ordering his officers not to arrest state security agents and ruling ZANU PF party militia allegedly committing violence against supporters of the opposition party.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told Chihuri in an April 24 letter that by allegedly instructing the police not arrest perpetrators of violence he was breaching the country’s Constitution.

He warned Chihuri that he will be held “responsible and liable” for the law enforcement agency’s failure to carry out its duty.

Biti wrote: “We have it on good record that you have ordered members of the police not to interfere in the orgy of violence perpetrated on the civilian population. It is clear that members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and Zanu PF youth and militia are immune from arrest and prosecution despite their brazen unlawful conduct.”

Biti, a lawyer by profession, said Chihuri’s conduct was in violation of
Section 93 of the Constitution obliging the police to preserve the internal
security of Zimbabwe and to maintain law and order in the country.

“You are ultimately responsible and liable for the failure (by the police) in carrying out this constitutional responsibility.”

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena declined to comment on Biti’s letter but insisted the police have always arrested people suspected of breaching the law without regard to their political affiliation.

“We stand ready to execute our duties professionally if reports of violence are made to us,” said Bvudzijena. “No one is immune to arrest after committing an offence. The MDC should give us evidence and we will carryout our constitutional mandate.”

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