Don’t be like Makedenge – Majongwe warns police as teachers’ protest blocked

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By Anna Chibamu

Federation of Zimbabwe Educators Union (FOZEU) secretary general,  Raymond Majongwe, on Monday said police officers should desist from harassing civil servants seeking better wages from government.

Addressing journalists during a press conference in Harare, Majongwe, who is also secretary general of Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), warned police officers commandeered to beat-up or ill-treat representatives of public sector unions that they should think of their destiny rather than continue being used by superiors with fatty pockets.

Majongwe gave the example of a former ZRP assistant commissioner and officer commanding CID Law and Order Division, Crispen Makedenge, who reportedly fell on hard times after a lengthy period in the force where he was accused of torturing and harassing suspects.

The officer, who was transferred to Masvingo before his departure from the force, was alleged to have suffered from a mental illness.

Makedenge presided over the arrest, detention and alleged torture of hundreds of human rights defenders, journalists, opposition politicians and civil society activists for close to two decades.

He headed the Homicide Section for a long time before transferring to the Law and Order unit which deals with threats to the sitting government.

“Police harass us but we all face the same economic challenges,” he said.

“Their wives are not even able to access health services due to the peanuts being earned by all of us. It was shocking to realise that today (Monday) these hungry police officers showed a lot of energy as they ran up the stairs to the 10th Floor of NSSA building in two minutes.

“We are also trying to represent them so that they can fend for their families. Those houses at barracks or camps are not yours. Do not be like Makedenge who became a pauper and lost his mind soon after leaving the police force.

“We are noticing that many of those officers who used to ill-treat the public during the former President Robert Mugabe era are suffering,” Majongwe told the media.

Majongwe queried the presence of anti-riot police at the Public Service Association (PSA) offices in the capital as the civil servants representatives planned to hand over a petition to the Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman, Vincent Hungwe, Monday morning.

“Police officers were here as early as 0500hrs in full force against unarmed people. This threatened most of our members. We do not expect this in the Second Republic. A democratic country cannot make such threats and intimidate people like we are seeing.”

Majongwe told government to stay away from the Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS).

“Our clarion call to the government is that hands off our baby. PSMAS is our baby,” added Majongwe.