Zimbabwe's national police force has launched preparations for the national elections expected to take place this year, with officer training programs to stop violence and keep the peace, Deputy Commissioner-General Josephine Shambare told state media.
The police have been accused of failing to arrest the perpetrators of political violence in the 2008 elections and in previous ballots, particularly if such perpetrators were supporters of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.
But Shambare said the police won’t tolerate violence by members of any party. Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri urged all political parties recently to shun violence, saying officers will crack down on perpetrators regardless of their affiliation.
Election Resource Center Director Tawanda Chimhini told VOA’s Ntungamili Nkomo that while he supported training for officers ahead of the national vote, he was doubtful they would follow through on their pledge to apply the law impartially across the board.
Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said his party will only believe the police if they put their words into action, considering that perpetrators of 2008 violence remain free.
Political analyst Charles Mutasa told Jonga Kandemiiri that most people will find it hard to take seriously the police pledge to even-handedly maintain the peace.
Bulawayo-based analyst Effie Dlela Ncube declared his skepticism as well.