The government has strongly condemned acts of misconduct by police officers which it says tarnishes the image of the country and the police in particular.
Reference and cause of concern was made by the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Honourable Kazembe Kazembe to the widely circulated social media clip of a police officer who allegedly struck a baby with a baton stick in Harare on the 4th of January 2021.
Investigations conducted by the Commissioner-General of Police revealed that the incident occurred along Sam Nujoma Street (formerly Second Street), Harare near Bindura bound Commuter rank when the police officers were trying to arrest a kombi crew which was picking passengers at an undesignated point and contravening COVID-19 regulations.
The child and mother were hit by fragments of the smashed windscreen and taken to West End Clinic where medical experts established that the child had no injuries and the life was not in danger.
“My Ministry does not condone the smashing of vehicle windscreens or windows by police officers. The Commissioner-General of Police has assured me that this message will be cascaded to all Police Commanders for the conscientisation of their members. I have directed the Commissioner-General of Police to take stern action against these and any other errant police officers,” he said.
On the other hand, he urged social media activists to be responsible and verify facts before jumping to conclusions.
“I also encourage social media activists to operate responsibly and desist from jumping to conclusions before verifying facts. The case in point is that the said officer who was alleged to have hit the child and the mother did not hit them at all, neither did the child die.”
As the nation braces to fight against the Covid-19 epidemic, the minister also urged Zimbabweans to comply with the revised COVID-19 national lockdown Level IV measures and restrictions announced by the Honourable Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. Constantino Chiwenga on the 2nd of January 2021.
He said his ministry was committed to continuing prioritising the health, safety, and security of all citizens thus there was a need to cooperate with law enforcement officers and contribute positively towards the Government’s efforts to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said unity, solidarity, and commitment as well as abiding by-laws by citizens can only help Zimbabwe to curb the pandemic.
“It is a fact that COVID-19 is affecting everyone. It knows no colour, creed, boundary, or status. Let us take it seriously and adopt the new normal in order to promote health and the maintenance of law and order in the country.
“My Ministry is concerned with bars, night clubs, restaurants, and other business entities who are operating yet according to Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021, these are banned. I have directed the Commissioner-General of Police to ensure that the law takes its course on any individual, syndicate, or business entity contravening COVID-19 regulations. There is no need for anyone to grandstand. In the same vein, I plead with public figures/ musicians and others to lead by example in fighting this pandemic,” said Minister Kazembe.
He added that he was equally disturbed by some shopping centres in some areas in the country which are now known for wild parties, beer-drinking binges and all sorts of illegalities and gave a directive for such activities to stop forthwith.
Police officers, he said, will move around all suburbs, shopping centres, and even check houses to account for transgressions against covid regulations and other criminal activities.
“I urge the public to report to any nearest Police Station, individuals or groups holding parties or musical events or any other gatherings not sanctioned under COVID-19 regulations. Organisers of such events will face the wrath of the law and risk losing their licenses.
“The Ministry has also noted with concern, that despite funerals being allowed a maximum of 30 people, this limit is being disregarded by many. Citizens are urged to observe this regulation. Any violation of this requirement will meet the full wrath of the law.”
He added that the Ministry will work closely with all relevant stakeholders to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Recently, Zimdancehall music promoters Arnold Kamudyariwa, popularly known as DJ Fantan, Chillspot Records co-founder Tafadzwa Kadzimwe aka Levels, and Tinashe Chanachimwe “Dhama” pleaded guilty to breaching Covid-19 regulations through organising an unsanctioned New Year’s Eve music gig.
They were charged with a count of partaking and convening a public gathering during a national lockdown in contravention of Section 5(3)(a) of the Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention and Containment) Regulations of Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020.