By Mugove Tafirenyika
HARARE – Police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri has quashed raging rumours that he has resigned from his post by appearing at the pass out parade of 554 police graduates at Morris Police Training Depot in Harare on Thursday.
The social media was awash with stories that Chihuri had left his post under pressure from Zanu PF hawks who accuse him of belonging to a faction aligned to vice president Joice Mujuru.
In the last few weeks, there have been incessant calls by party supporters opposed to Mujuru for all her perceived allies both in Zanu PF and government to resign before the ruling party’s December congress.
But yesterday, Chihuri appeared to be under no pressure as he went about his duties accompanying Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku in inspecting the parade.
Chihuri, however, did not give a speech as Chidyausiku was the reviewing officer at the ceremony.
Meanwhile, Chidyausiku said conditions prevailing in police holding cells were inhuman and degrading and that using them to detain suspects was a violation of their constitutional rights.
While acknowledging that government is currently cash-strapped, Chidyausiku called on authorities to mobilise resources to repair all holding cells countrywide.
Over the years, local human rights groups have expressed disquiet over the sorry state of affairs in the holding police cells at various police stations countrywide but government has always cited financial problems.
“What I would ask for, and what I believe is possible, is for government to repair these police holding cells,” said Chidyausiku.
“This does not require a lot of money and would evince government’s commitment to attend to this problem. We should bear in mind that the people we hold in police holding cells are Zimbabweans. We owe it to our people to afford them this basic decency,” he added.
Chidyausiku also appealed for cooperation among the police, the judiciary and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to deliver justice to the people.
He said there should never be collusion between them as an efficient investigation by the police enables the NPA to effectively present to court making it easier for judicial officers to assess.
“Accordingly, there should never be an expectation that because the police have arrested an accused person and the NPA has prosecuted that person, therefore the court must convict,” said Chidyausiku.
He warned the NPA against bringing before the courts, cases that have not been properly investigated.
The Chief Justice said judicial officers would not hesitate to hold to account both the police and the NPA for failure to discharge their duties properly and professionally.
He also said likewise, the police should also arrest and investigate judicial officers who break the law.
Turning to the graduands, Chidyausiku called them on to be professional in the conduct of their duties by upholding the dignity of being a police officer.
“Reports of police officers who are sometimes perpetrators of crime make disturbing reading. Equally so are reports of corruption, not only among the police force but in the entire delivery system”.
The pass out parade was punctuated by scintillating marching drills by the energetic young officers who were all too happy to showcase their nimble feet through unique quick march drills that entertained the crowd throughout the day.
Part of the six-month police training syllabus involves courses on the country’s Constitution, its political history, Human Rights and Policing, Police Duties and Investigations, Criminal Law, Domestic Violence Act, Public Order Management, Weapon Handling, Foot and Arms drill among others.
The graduation ceremony was also attended by the Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi. Daily News