Police have dismissed as a “Hollywood movie” a CNN report that local officers are ordered to beat up, throw tear smoke canisters and eventually shoot civilians during demonstrations. This comes after CNN recently conducted an interview with a man masquerading as a ZRP officer who raised allegations against the force, including police brutality.
In a statement on Thursday, chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said it was clear the whole interview was stage-managed.
“Whilst we agree that CNN, like any other media institution, have journalistic privileges, these should never be abused. We have watched with total disbelief an interview purported to have been carried out with a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“By merely looking at the shadowy figure with a voice that had been modified, it is clear that this fictitious character would fit in a Hollywood modified style movie,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the “CNN cop” had no clue whatsoever of how the force conducts crowd control.
“It is very clear that the whole interview was manufactured and concocted or to, simply put it, was stage managed. This is clearly unprofessional and malicious,” she said.
“All members who are deployed on public order duties are thoroughly briefed and the deployments are guided by a distinctly written operational order which at no cost does not state ZRP officers should beat up people, throw tear smoke and eventually shoot demonstrators as maliciously stated by this bogus officer.
“The ZRP did not use firearms for crowd control in the recent demonstrations, contrary to the bogus officer’s assertion,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.
She said the force is mandated under Section 219 (1) of the Constitution to detect, investigate and prevent crime; preserving the internal security of Zimbabwe and protecting and securing the lives and property of the people.
It is also mandated to maintain law and order and uphold the Constitution and enforce the law without fear or favour along with other bodies as may be established by law for that purpose, she said.
“It belies understanding why people go to such unprofessional lengths to plump the depth to come up with an entirely fictitious story. The reportage by the CNN reporters is one sided, to say the least, suggesting that they had only come to Zimbabwe on a mission,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.
She said it was surprising that CNN did not seek a response from the ZRP as per journalistic ethics.