Friday, March 23, 2007

Life of a Zim constable


When he joined the force 12 years ago, his duties covered routine street patrols and crime prevention. Today he only leaves barracks to take part in police actions, beating and arresting peaceful demonstrators. And many of those he assaults and threatens are his neighbours, friends, relatives, even close members of his own family.

"I am in a Catch 22 situation," he tells me, when we met in a small drinking club in the suburb of Makokoba. "People are very angry with us. They accuse us of being Mugabe's dogs. But we have to carry out our orders."...

"Who are you frightened of - the police or the local people?" I ask him.

"Both," he says, going on to recount how his unit roughly arrested a heavily pregnant woman caught up in a demonstration a month ago. The woman went into labour in the charge room, and is only now recovering in hospital. Her son is not expected to live.

Constable Dube has other problems. His wife Betty is a staunch supporter of the opposition MDC party

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