Police warned against abusing right to use firearms

Police warned against abusing right to use firearms

Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe has warned police officers that they risk being being prosecuted if they abuse the right to use fire arms.

The statement by the minister comes following the recent High Court order ordering the police to compensate the family of shoot victim Tinashe Choto who lost his life during the January 2019 protests.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been accused of carelessly discharging firearms resulting in fatalities some of who are innocent bystanders.

Speaking in the National Assembly, Minister Kazembe said law enforcement agents should apply as far as possible non-violent means when dealing with unarmed suspects.

He said they should only resort to force and fire arms only if the other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.

“Regardless of who commits the crime, no one is above the law, so even police officers can be arrested.

The government policy respects the sanctity of life as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, hence our police officers shall continue to uphold this right,” he said.

Section 42 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07 provides that the use of firearms may be authorised in situations where one resists the attempt and cannot be arrested without the use of force or flees when it is clear that an attempt to arrest him is being made or resists the attempt and flees, the person attempting the arrest may, in order to effect the arrest, use such force as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the case to overcome the resistance or to prevent the person concerned from escaping.

Minister Kazembe was quick to add that although there are circumstances allowing for the use of firearms this does not however mean that the police will take away the lives of citizens willy-nilly as each police officer is duty bound to observe the golden rules of the use of firearms which demand that if in doubt do not fire; never use a firearm when it is possible to achieve your objective by other means; or when the immediate object has already been achieved.

Tinashe Choto a 22-year-old man from Makoni, Chitungwiza died after being shot by the ZRP during the January 2019 protests triggered by fuel shortages, angry protesters carried his body and dumped it at the local police station, in November this year the High Court ordered his family be compensated ZW$4 million