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Minister claims its not duty of police to protect people during elections

Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe ‘lied’ in Parliament on Wednesday when he claimed that the police had no duty to protect people towards or during elections and that the onus was on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Political violence is increasing in Zimbabwe as the country heads for by-elections and 2023 harmonised general elections. Last Sunday, a member of opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Mboneni Ncube was allegedly killed by Zanu-PF supporters after they disrupted a rally in Kwekwe.

More than 22 CCC supporters were injured.

Kazembe was responding to opposition member Brian Dube’s question on “is it not that the failure to regulate the conduct of political parties’ activities and campaign is exacerbating political violence in the country?”

Kazembe made an unpopular response saying the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), a department under his ministry had no duty to monitor people during elections. He added that it was ZEC’s responsibility.

“Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thought it was a supplementary question but since you ruled that he can ask, I will attempt to answer that. Mr. Speaker Sir, the conduct of people towards or during election is an issue that has to be dealt with by ZEC and not necessarily by the police,” Kazembe said.

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa had to quickly come in to correct the minister.

“On a point of clarification. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am disappointed that the Minister does not understand that ZEC, after every election, puts together a liaison committee which is chaired by the police in case of violence,” Mliswa said.

“So I would like to correct the Minister to say that there is a liaison committee which is appointed by ZEC and chaired by the Committee to enforce the law because ZEC does not enforce the law. I would like to correct the Minister on that understanding and I am very clear about that.

“If he did not know, then that is a lesson to him. I have been in elections long enough to understand the procedures.”

In a statement on Thursday morning, ZEC confirmed that the police had a role of ensuring elections are peaceful through the Special Police Liaison Officers.

“In terms of the Electoral Act the Zimbabwe Republic Police is mandated to set up Special Police Liaison Officers in each province responsible for the expeditious investigation of cases of politically motivated violence.

“The Commission urges those who are victims of electoral and politically motivated violence to report such cases to the Police and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for investigation and redress,” ZEC said while condemning the recent political violence. Nehanda Radio

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