Works of the CIO

Works of the CIO
Published: 20 April 2012 (11960 Views)
In his 32nd Independence celebration speech this week, the President of Zimbabwe, Comrade Robert Mugabe briefly preached peace in passing.

To quote his prepared speech, he stated emphatically:

The initiative to create a peaceful environment has recorded some success and those leading the process should be commended for a job well done. Peace is an inevitable pre-requisite for sustainable development in the country. To this extent, all political party leaders should encourage their supporters to promote the spirit of peace, tranquility and harmony through social dialogue.

I was mollified that the Head of State appreciated the evident effects of a peaceful environment to steer a sustainability agenda for a progressive Zimbabwe. While the onus was placed at the doorsteps of each political party leader to be a catalyst to the peace initiative, it should be quickly realized that stand alone messages of, or appeals for, peace without supporting practical action could be a far cry from reality.

A feasibly genuine peace process ropes in various stakeholders who include the political party leaders, the militant youth, the civic society at large, the CIO, the army, the police and the justice system. Without the synergy of state security apparatus, a genuine peace process remains unattainable.

While a message of peace in Zimbabwe may sound like a convenient cliché to appease passer-by attendants, it still works to define the foundation for a peace resolution agenda. The ultimate realization of national peace should transcend the political rhetoric and get down to pragmatic efforts where trouble-makers are booked and tried in courts. Ultimately, there should be condign punishment for trouble makers.  

To date, the onus to maintain public order remains mainly in police hands. The police have a direct social link with the public and are expected to operate professionally to investigate and arrest criminals upon complaints filed.

Through avoiding bribes and corrupt tendencies, they can perform well. Their only issue at the moment is that they are under-paid and hungry for money to sustain their upkeep. As a result they are prone to taking bribes since their thirst and hunger makes them vulnerably gullible.

If only the government could pay them well and address their welfare, they could perform above board. That would make them keen to nab rabble-rousers without fear or favor.

From the police station, perpetrators of violence appear before courts of law. The same issue of wants and needs affects our justice system. Recently, in Bulawayo, Justice Makonese expressed a concern as he intimated that in Zimbabwe, mainly the poor remained behind bars as the rich folks bought their way to freedom.

Humanity is a victim of fallibility and temptation. Without proper perks and benefits to cater for the human capital in the justice delivery system, more inroads into corruption will keep emerging. Affluent folks dictate the law while the poor suffer consequences. At the end of the day, the rule of law is applied selectively.

As a state security apparatus, the CIO too needs to evolve from its current operational mentality of "the dreaded spy agency" into becoming a force for the people's interests and concerns.

While remaining national security-conscious, the force should avoid the pitfalls of being used by the powerful and influential citizens or close friends and family members to satisfy un-stately ulterior motives.

In some situations, there has been a tendency by those vying for other's blood to bring in CIO operatives to appear on unprofessional or unjust grounds. Such conduct has nurtured hatred and loss of confidence in the way the organization functions.

In social circles, one could hear, "If you can't pay the debt by 5 p.m today, then expect similar treatment to that of Daniel in the bible. My cousin works for the CIO!" Such conduct robs the organization of its due respect as it veers off the organization's mission objectives while tarnishing its image.

Instead of the police taking charge of criminal activities, the CIO has at times been casually "hired" to act as effective champions of social justice. In so doing, CIO operatives have found themselves at cross roads where they have to act as police instead of enhancing the state security agenda.

Such compromised professionalism has triggered violence and instability in some corners of a supposedly peaceful environment. Instead of being used to further cruelty and fear among defenseless citizens, the CIO should remain at all times professionally seized with state security interests through genuine acts of a patriotic agenda that fosters peace-building objectives.

In summary, based on previous election violence experiences in Zimbabwe, peace building initiatives can hardly be achieved with mere rhetoric or simulated negotiations that lack parallel supporting structures to offer compliance, enforcement and deterrence measures. Social dialogue in peace negotiations lacks impact and consequences.

The vigor of state security apparatus (and all civil servants) to serve effectively is premised on good remuneration that forestalls the temptation to seek bribes to survive. Decent salaries and realistic concomitant benefits help ensure an efficient public service delivery.

Some of the notably current acts of corruption and social transgressions by state security apparatus, while not condonable, are a result of need and not greed. Without adequate resources, the forces become prone to bribery and corruption.

They risk chasing money while pursuing unprofessional conduct and personal agenda just to make enough to get by. Those at the top of Maslow's social hierarchy with the means will exploit the gullible desperados on the ground to settle personal scores or advance their ulterior motives. Resultantly some folks get killed or dismembered (kanyama-kanyama) by corrupt uniformed forces just for a bottle of beer or a ride into town. Once a seed of injustice is planted, a vicious circle emerges as the theme quickly morphs into an eye for an eye.

If civil servants' needs are well addressed, then the onus must fall on the police force, the justice system and the Anti-Corruption Commission to hop in with unshaken zeal and bring the greedy ones to book. Then, the spirit and the letter of the law can conveniently be interpreted without fear of favor. Those found guilty will truly face consequences.

Tapiwa Kapurura writes in his personal capacity.

- Freelance Work

Tags: Peace, Zimbabwe,

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