Chihuri Lashes Out At NGO's

Giving oral evidence on the recent upsurge in violence and police handling of the situation, Chihuri told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs that representatives of NGOs were “destructing and interjecting” President Robert Mugabe and his delegation at regional and international summits.

Chihuri predictably questioned the source of funding for NGOs which enables them to mount lobby and advocacy campaigns at regional and international meetings such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and United Nations summits and accused representatives of NGOs of staying in “expensive hotels”.

The Commissioner-General, who was accompanied by Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Melusi Matshiya and Lee Muchemwa, the Chief Staff Officer, Crime said this did not happen with other countries.

Chihuri alleged that, out of a total of 121 people arrested for perpetrating violence since January 2011, 101 were Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters while 20 were Zanu (PF) supporters.

He named eight MDC legislators for “committing crimes”, but failed to mention a single Zanu (PF) MP for any wrong-doing.

The Police Commissioner-General listed the eight MDC MPs as Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe (for allegedly assaulting a police constable at a roadblock); Home Affairs co-Minister Theresa Makone (for allegedly violently threatening police officers and undermining police authority); Nyanga North MP and Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora (alleged public violence);Masvingo Urban MP Tongai Matutu (assaulting a chief); Zhombe MP Rodger Tazviona (allegedly assaulting a chief); Gokwe-Kabuyuni MP Costain Muguti (alleged robbery); Glenview South MP Paul Madzore and Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo (for allegedly selling liquor without a licence).

He however did not comment on any progress in matters which had been referred to his office for investigation such as those involving the likes of Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.

He said reports of political violence surged during the period preceding the European Union (EU) meeting which was held last month to review targeted sanctions on President Mugabe and some of his party members.

The Police Commissioner-General said reports on the upsurge of violence would be aimed at creating a seemingly violent situation in the country so as to justify the imposition and extension of the targeted sanctions, of which he is a victim. He also blamed the media for dramatising violence.

When quizzed on progress in relation to cases of politically-motivated violence related to the March 2008 election aftermath, he refused to answer, saying only that the matter was being dealt with by the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation.

Chihuri also disclosed before the Committee that the police are under resourced and poorly remunerated.