ZwNews Chief Correspondent

Following the Bulawayo blast, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been placed on high alert, and the force has announced that it will deploy more officers to maintain peace during the 2018 harmonised elections to be held on 31 July.

Speaking to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC news), a top police official said in the wake of the recent attack, the force will deploy more officers across the country during the elections so that peace is maintained.

His comments were a repeat of the Commissioner of the force Godwin Matanga who recently told officers at the Commissioner’s Sports Gala that the police force is the driver of peace, hence the need for them to be fully prepared before, during and after the elections.

Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa described the attack at the White City Stadium an act of terrorism aimed at destabilising the peaceful environment the country is enjoying.

“This cowardly terrorist attack at a public political meeting was indiscriminate and calculated to achieve a bloodbath which is hard to phantom.

“It sought to subvert the will of the people of Zimbabwe by attempting to destabilise the on-going electoral programme which our nation wishes to see unfold in an environment of perfect peace, all for a free, fair, and credible electoral outcome–,” said the President in his condolences message to the families of those who lost their lives because of the blast.

However, the police have been warned to uphold highest standards of professionalism, and not to take this opportunity of increased deployments to intimidate the electorate.

Previously, the country’s security forces which include the police have been used to intimidate voters, with supporters of the opposition parties at the receiving end. They had since then, earned themselves a bad reputation for applying the law selectively, when a ZANU PF supporter attacks an opposition party supporter the police could not arrest the perpetrator.

When an arrest is made, the ZANU PF perpetrator could be seen a ‘free man’ moments after, in some instances threatening the victim further.

Political commentator, Elder Mabhunu says while it is a good move to deploy more police officers during elections, the police is therefore expected to uphold the highest degree of professionalism.

“It is a good move, but the police should shun its old ways of executing their duties, the deployed officers should be apolitical, and uphold greatest degrees of professionalism, before, during and after elections.

“We don’t want them to act as political commissars of any political party, especially the ruling party,” says Mabhunu.