The Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Godwin Matanga, has announced that police officers will shoot to kill when dealing with armed robbers. The announcement was made at the funeral of Maxwell Hove, an officer-in-charge who was killed last week in Hwedza, along with two other victims, by a former Criminal Investigations Department officer who was eventually arrested after fleeing to Mozambique.
In his statement, Matanga emphasized that the police will not stand idly by while citizens and police officers are killed by criminals. He also stated that unregistered firearms will be considered to have criminal intent, and that police officers will not hesitate to use deadly force against perpetrators of heinous crimes such as armed robbery.
The Commissioner-General also mentioned that the police will not tolerate politically-motivated violence, as the election season approaches. He said, “As a nation, we are fully aware that the election season is upon us, hence the Zimbabwe Republic Police shall ensure zero tolerance to politically-motivated violence.”
The announcement has sparked debate among citizens and human rights activists, with some praising the move as necessary to protect law-abiding citizens, while others have raised concerns about the potential for abuse of power and the use of excessive force by police.
The former Criminal Investigations Department officer, Jaison Muvevi, who was arrested for the murder of Hove and the two other victims, appeared before a Harare magistrate on Wednesday. He claimed that the police were forcing him to confess to the triple murders and requested to be placed under the custody of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services rather than the police. The court ruled in favor of the State and Muvevi will return to court on Friday.