Monday, 3 June 2019

WHY WE HAD TO WARN THE PUBLIC : COPS


POLICE have warned members of the public against generating and circulating messages that disturb peace in the country, especially on social media.

This comes against the backdrop of messages that threaten violence and a national shutdown, which Zimbabweans have largely ignored.

Police in Bulawayo yesterday held a public campaign assuring residents of their safety while urging them to go about their business without fear as law enforcement agents were on high alert for any security threats. 

The police used a megaphone to assure people of their security and also used the campaign to alert residents of crimes  which include theft and robberies. Their campaign cut across most western suburbs and began shortly after 5AM.

 “Good morning Bulawayo residents, we hereby inform you that you are all safe and should feel free to go about your daily business as we have capable police officers deployed around the city for your safety. Those that work, you may go to work and all children must be in school, ignore Whatsapp messages instructing people to stay at home,” said Bulawayo acting spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube during the campaign in Tshabalala suburb.

In an interview, Insp Ncube said there was nothing amiss with police conducting the campaign early in the morning. 

He said it was part of police duties to ensure the public are advised of their security in light of malicious social media messages designed to threaten public peace.

“We are calling on the people of Bulawayo to retain the culture of Bulawayo. In Bulawayo we are known for ubuntu and peace. But as police we are worried that there are inflammatory messages that are designed to disturb public peace and intimidate residents. The messages are causing unnecessary panic to members of the public. These messages are mainly circulating on WhatsApp. Residents are no longer informed but misinformed on what is really happening in the country due to these fake media messages,” Insp Ncube said.

He said the public should be on guard as some communication coming from social media has become destructive.

Insp Ncube said police have increased visibility to ensure public safety.

“We want to assure the public that their security is guaranteed as police are on high alert for anything that might threaten their security. Our officers are strategically deployed to deal with anything that threatens public peace,” he said.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the police are using public campaigns to conscientise the public about crime. 

“It’s our constitutional mandate to prevent crime, to ensure that there is law and order in whatever activities people would be embarking upon. It’s precisely what police officers are doing.

“Remember the police have a responsibility to ensure that there is peace and security in the country. When we are doing these campaigns, there is nothing sinister, nothing alarming as police officers are conducting these campaigns,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

He reiterated that the police would remain alert to any threats of violence aimed at disturbing public peace.

“We also gave a warning that anyone who is being incited to burn any vehicle, any shop, to stop children going to school, to harass and threaten any members of the public who want to go about their business, that the law does not allow anyone to do so and secondly the law will take its course,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) chairperson Mr Winos Dube hailed the police for assuring the public of its safety.

He said the city’s residents should reflect on the destructive behaviour that occurred in January which left the city poorer before being swayed into partaking in issues that are retrogressive.

“The January protests were unfortunate in the history of our city. We call upon residents to remain calm and avoid at all costs any violent actions. Let us not be hoodwinked by criminal elements that want to capitalise on violence. Stay put, we have a government in place to protect us. Let us respect it. Dialogue is the answer to rebuilding our country,” Mr Dube said. Herald

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