Only Mugabe win will be recognised - police chief
01 December 2010, 10:16
Harare - Zimbabwe's police chief has warned that the results of elections proposed for next year will be accepted only if President Robert Mugabe's party wins, the Zimbabwe Mail news website reported on Tuesday.
Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri is a veteran supporter of Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, which is in a power-sharing government with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chihuri was quoted by the Mail as telling a group of junior officers in Harare that "this country came through blood and the barrel of the gun, and it can never be recognised through a simple pen, which costs as little as five cents".
His remarks added to fears of a new wave of violence against MDC supporters if the country heads back to the polls next year.
Mugabe is pushing for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held by the middle of next year, despite the fact that the international community says conditions for a free and fair vote are not yet in place.
Chihuri's reported remarks pick up on a theme in Mugabe's speeches that Tsvangirai is "a Western puppet" who will hand the country over to whites if he comes to power.
Tsvangirai's arm of the coalition government reacted angrily.
"He (Chihuri) must immediately be investigated for these statements," said Eric Matinenga, minister of constitutional affairs and MDC member.
"If that is not a coup, what is? If that is not treasonous, I don't know what is."
Josphat Tshuma, president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, said the commissioner's remarks were "setting a very dangerous precedent".
He was asserting that the right of citizens to choose who ruled them was "irrelevant", effectively "neutralising" the police as an institution for the protection of citizens.
"He is justifying everything that is necessary to keep one party in power," he said.
Mugabe's party began using violence and election fraud to cement its hold on power after the MDC emerged as an opposition force in 2000.
In 2008, the MDC won parliamentary elections and Tsvangirai won the first round of presidential elections.
The MDC victory cost around 200 MDC supporters their lives at the hands of Zanu-PF militia and the military.