THE ZRP will pull all the stops to ensure the planned constitutional referendum and new general elections are held in a peaceful environment, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri vowed Thursday.
Addressing a pass out parade for some 441 police recruits at Morris Depot, Chihuri said foreign “detractors” were closely monitoring the on-going constitutional reforms and would use any disturbances in the next elections to declare the country a police state and maintain economic sanctions.
Zimbabwe is currently writing a new constitution as part of a raft of reforms agreed under the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Once completed, the charter would be put to a referendum, leading to new elections.
Chihuri said the ZRP would ensure the referendum and the elections are held in a peaceful environment to “prove the country’s detractors wrong”.
The GPA parties agree the coalition government is no longer workable but continue to bicker over the timing of new elections. President Robert Mugabe has been pushing for the elections to be held this year but his rivals insist political reforms must be completed to ensure a credible ballot.
The coalition government was formed after violent but inconclusive elections in 2008. MDC-T leader and current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential run-off, accusing elements in the security services of unleashing violence against his supporters in a bid to help Mugabe retain power.
Meanwhile, in a speech full of references to the Bible, the ZRP chief also insisted that senior police officers were right to back government policies such as indigenisation and the land reform programme.
“I am aware that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is being vilified for supporting people oriented policies by the government such as the indigenisation and the land reform programme,” he said.
“However, as an organisation, we shall continue to support these policies despite the unwarranted smear campaign.
“Even the Holy Bible, in the book of Jeremiah Chapter 3 verse 19, enjoins us to support our leaders who jealously fight and safe guard out heritage.”
Chihuri urged the police graduates to shun corruption.
“The society considers you, and rightly so, to be reservoirs of honesty, uprightness and austerity. To this extent, you should uphold the virtues of morality by guarding against being corrupted by unruly members of the society,” he said.
“The book of Titus Chapter 1 verses 7-8 is instructive in this regard when it says, and I quote, ‘since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless not overbearing, not quick tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, and who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined’.”