Zim's Police Commissioner To Go – Tsvangirai

At a press conference in Harare on Wednesday, Tsvangirai said during the meeting with principals, wide ranging issues were discussed and agreed on with President Robert Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, and now await implementation.

Giving a run-down of the agreed issues, DPM Mutambara said there were procedures that needed to be taken before a commissioner general was appointed.

“The Police Service Commission must be regularised so that it makes recommendations of potential candidates to the President. The Principals agreed that in line with the Constitution, the President would then consult and agree with the Prime Minister on the next Commissioner General of Police,” said Mutambara.

Contracts of some of the members of the police service commission expired in December 2011 and that needed to be regularised before the commission could recommend names for appointment to the post of Police Commissioner General.

He said Chihuri was therefore acting Commissioner General.

Mutambara said the three principals agreed that political statements made by service chiefs must be left to politicians and those within the security forces who make politic al statements must be dealt with as their statements undermine civilian authority.

“An officer in the security forces who makes political statements undermines the civilian government in place and should be reprimanded for making such statements,” he said.

Mutambara said it was agreed that there was need for electoral reforms to take place if the next elections are to be free, fair and credible.

He said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission needed to be resourced for it to produce results.

“The objective is that the next election outcome is not challenged. So resources need to be put in place if we are going to get results, and we hope the issue of violence will be resolved once this bill is adopted,” he added.

Mutambara said, the meeting earlier on Wednesday, had deliberated on the need for a report on the status of the constitution making process from the management committee to ensure that the next elections are process driven.

“Though the ultimate deadline is March 2013, the Principals want a report on the constitution making process from the Management Committee with estimated time frames of all the issues that require implementation,” he said.

Mutambara said it was agreed that there be media reforms and that the Mass Media Trust Board, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Board and Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Board be regularised.

What it means is that the Minister of Information will have to regularise the illegally constituted boards. Responding to a question pertaining to this issue, President Tsvangirai said decisions made by these boards must therefore be reversed, he said.

Mutambara discouraged hate speech which he said had flooded both public and private media which he added is detrimental to the development of the society.

‘There is hate speech in the public media, there is hate speech in the private media, there is irresponsible journalism but now we need to think about what is good for the people of Zimbabwe. We are going to hold a no holds barred media indaba with all the editors to discuss how we can work together for the good of the people because media can influence society,” he said.

He went on to say section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act needed to be revisited as it has been grossly abused. Section 121, when invoked, allows for a person to be kept in prison for seven days after which, when the state makes no appeal, the person can be granted bail. Many MDC activists have had their stay in prison prolonged after the state invoked this section.

Other issues that were discussed included the issue of land utilisation audit to ensure productivity on the land; the issue of restrictive measures and the need to call for their lifting; the need to expand from economic stability to job creation and promote investment.

The meeting further agreed on the need for the council of ministers to meet regularly to report back on areas of implementation so that Cabinet assumes its original role of debating national policy.