I would like to tell you Hon. Speaker Sir, that we are moving towards a common cause that violence negates development and what we need to do is to ensure that when we lose elections, we have to go back to our offices and try to come up with new strategies that will make us win next time. At the present moment, there is a Government in office and that Government should be protected by law enforcing agents including the police.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I have often wondered why police officers sometimes try – they also become defensive in situations. Police work itself is in the majority of cases, reactive because police officers do not know what people think. They do not know what people are going to do next time, especially when people are moving in groups and being driven by certain emotions. At such a point, the police should be in a position to ward off anything that is designed to disrupt public order and law and order. This is why we have the Public Order and Security Act [Chapter 11:17]. We would like to see cohesion between the police and the public.
Sometimes I hear legal gurus saying there is no need to inform the police about a demonstration or whatever or procession. It is very absurd because what happens is that; there is a problem or disease called mob psychology. When people are moving as a group – even if you put Hon. Members in a bus, observe how they behave in that bus, it is mob psychology. When things are happening in such a way, that emotions are being heated up, you will see that people will end up destroying property, attacking and injuring people and so on.
We are saying, there should be a common understanding. Those who want to demonstrate or go into processions should discuss with the police and say, this is how we are going to be doing it so that the police will make safeguards. The police will be able to know what to do in the event of this or that happening. This is exactly what our law provides for. I am saying this because I have realised that in certain situations, even other political parties, they are also going to the police station to report what they want to do. I have not seen any discord because the police is for everyone, it is a national police service.
However, if people just demonstrate on their own and the police come, they are also driven by emotions. For example, the issue that was being talked about in Lupane, it happened elsewhere. The police themselves are human beings, they want their lives because they may also be killed – [HON. MISIHAIRABWI – MUSHONGA: Nevakadzi ivavo?] – Yes. As a result, they should be in a position to protect themselves first so that they are in a position to protect others – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, the fact that our police officers are not armed, it is based on the fact that they have got trust on members of the public. Once a police is in trouble, we see members of the public intervening trying to find out what the problem is.
In other countries – if you watch Al Jazeera, you can see what is happening in other countries and their jurisdictions. You can go and watch it today, it cannot go through without an event where police officers are throwing teargas on a daily basis. They are firing guns, tear smoke and so on. This is not the situation that is obtaining in Zimbabwe. Mr. Speaker Sir, as a way forward, people should not live on the figment of their imagination.
Continued next page