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Makarau says wont condemn 'vigilant' ZRP

17/06/2017 00:00:00
by Staff reporter
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THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Rita Makarau said the ZRP has the appropriate training and the requisite skills while, in her view, the force has acquitted itself fairly well in policing elections to date, notwithstanding what detractors say.

Makarau also said the recent trend of demonstrations by various political players called upon the police to be more vigilant in ensuring that the internal security of the country is maintained.

“The police are an important institution and stakeholder in the conduct of elections. It is impossible to conduct free, fair and credible elections without the involvement of the police in effective policing of the political environment,” said Makarau.

She urged ZRP to do their constitutional duty without fear or favour before, during and after the elections for the maintenance of law and order.

The ZEC chairperson said this when she presented her paper at the ZRP Legal Services Directorate Strategic Workshop held at Morris Depot in Harare Thursday.

She added, “As you are aware of our legal system is one, it covers the role and mandate of the police in relation to all matters, electoral matters included.

“Where the law seeks to give specific instructions to the police regarding electoral matters, it does that through specific provision of the Electoral Act.

“This is the general duty, in my view; it involves policing the general environment during all phases of the electorate cycle.”

She added that while the local media has urged ZEC to condemn or criticise certain actions by the police especially where the cops are viewed as being heavy handed with members of the opposition or activists they will never do that.

She said, “We have been accused of keeping quite in instances where the police have been perceived to have acted partially in a political environment such as prohibiting certain parties from holding meetings on particular days and in particular circumstances.

“In some instances we have been called upon to step in and stop alleged political violence and have declined to act on the basis of press reports before we formally engage the police.

“Our stance has, to a large extent, been informed by our broad understanding that our Constitution order as a democracy or as a country recognises the non-duplication of constitutional mandates.


“In other words, the Constitution has assigned mandates to each entity with full knowledge of the mandate that it has allocated the next authority.

“Therefore, whilst the state structures and commission that have been created by the constitution are not silos, each existing on its own, they are separate and distinct authorities one from the other.

“No one can lawfully carry out the functions of the other and more importantly no one has the supervisory powers over the other unless this is clearly spelt out in the Constitution or any other governing law.”

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