Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Blundering cops need retraining: Ex-minister

By Bernard Chiketo

Former Home Affairs minister Giles Mutsekwa has blamed government’s failure to conduct routine retraining of cops as the cause of the fatal shootings of civilians in Harare last Thursday, among other blunders by the police.

Former co-home affairs minister, Giles Mutsekwa
Former co-home affairs minister, Giles Mutsekwa

Describing the cops’ lack of discretion in firing live rounds at a crowd as “shocking”, Mutsekwa told Eastern News in an exclusive interview that the incident was a symptom of government neglect.

“The most crucial thing is that it is revealing. It tells you there has been years of neglect. There have been years where investment was not made to train and retrain of our police. It has come to that state because of an uncaring government,” he said.

Related Articles
1 of 105

“I can’t imagine any trained person loading a rifle with ammunition and pointing a gun to a crowd, in a heavily populated city like Harare. It’s not done! Any basic training of anybody will tell you, you don’t do that. In actual fact, this is why we have rubber bullets,” said Mutsekwa, a retired army major.

Mutsekwa described the task the new police chief, Godwin Matanga, has in rehabilitating the police as “unenviable”.

“I feel pity for … Matanga. He is inheriting a police force that has long lost its soul, he is inheriting a force that has completely turned into thugs and he needs to work extra hard.”

The MDC intelligence supremo and shadow Defence minister believes the commissioner-general’s work is going to be further complicated by Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu’s lack of appreciation of laws and order.

“I know Matanga, but while I have every belief in his competency and professionalism, his job is going to be made worse by the minister who was tasked to overlook the ministry of Home Affairs…Mpofu.”

Mutsekwa said Mpofu lacked both the exemplary edge and appreciation of the sector.

“You need a figure that is exemplary to lead a force or a unit that is in charge of law and order. The nation is aware of how lawless Mpofu was when he appeared before the parliamentary committee of Mines last week, how he bragged that he is above the law, how he bragged that nothing is going to happen to him…but I know you do not do that at all.”

He said such conduct should be totally alien to a minister in charge of a police force in any country.

“There is one thing you do not do in that position; you do not break rules that govern procedures of Parliament. It doesn’t matter who you are, but look at Mpofu, to him, because he has been in Parliament for over three decades, he thinks he is an untouchable.”

“And when you have a minister of that calibre, who is meant to oversee the lawfulness and orderliness of a country, then you have a very bad beginning.”

Mutsekwa said the appointment of Mpofu into government was President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s weakest point.

“I said it before that Mnangagwa’s decision to assign Mpofu to the ministry was the biggest error he has ever made. Mpofu has no clue whatsoever to understand how the ministry works.”

“The indiscipline he has displayed will cascade down the entire ministry he heads. So the attitude would be if our minister is untouchable so we must also be untouchable,” he said. DailyNews