Some social media users have distanced the Zimbabwe Republic Police from Friday’s violent scenes that were witnessed in the streets of Harare. They said that the conduct and combat some of the purported police officers were wearing raise serious questions about their real identity.
Prior to the demonstrations, there were reports suggesting that the army was being trained for deployment as police officers during demonstrations. Whether it is true or not, we cannot tell.
Hopewell Chin’ono, a Harvard trained journalist had to say:
These police officers, if they are that at all, are extremely unprofessional & the evidence lies before us to see. They were using ropes to beat up protesters, yet the Monthlante commission reminded the Government of the need to retrain the police force.
Are these real policemen?
There is a need for the progressive organizations in Zimbabawe to investigate whether there is now a conflation between the army and the police force. Are we now seeing soldiers dressed in police uniforms sent to inflict pain through disproportionate violence on protesters?
During the January military crackdown on civilians, authorities denied deploying the army saying that there were some people who stole military regalia and used it to commit crimes. Some cases are still pending in court.
Authorities also argued that if they were indeed soldiers, they were just rogue soldiers not operating under the command of their bosses. The government also denied deploying soldiers who fired live ammunition on civilians on August 1 2018. They argued that there must have been snipers who were shooting at the people.
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