JUNIOR and middle-ranked police officers from Bulawayo province were this week forced to take turns to attend two-day brainwashing lectures conducted by ideologues from Zanu PF’s Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology who told them to vote Zanu PF and desist from entertaining opposition parties ahead of elections likely to be held in August this year.
The training, which started on Monday, is being held at Drill Hall. Training will end next Thursday, according to a schedule seen by The NewsHawks.
The exercise is part of the ruling party’s preparations for the next elections in which it is drumming up support to stranglehold on power.
An internal radio memorandum sent to all police stations by the Bulawayo DCIO, Chief Superintendent K. Mpofu on 2 March 2023 under reference number KM 52/2023, says the training is part of the “rollout of synschronised security services civic education programme for Bulawayo province.”
The memo was addressed to all police officers attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), from Bulawayo metropolitan province’s four operational districts, namely Bulawayo Central, Bulawayo West, Bulawayo Suburban and Nkulumane.
They were drawn from stations such as the CID Law and Order, Homicide, PACU, Drugs, CID Bulawayo District Headquarters, CID Stores, CID Studios, TFC, Nkulumane, MFFV, CID Westcom, VTC, CID cyber laboratory section and CID Scenes Of Crime.
The subject of Mpofu’s radio memorandum was stated as the “rollout of sycronised security services civic education programme for Bulawayo province.”
Police officers who attended the training said they were explicitly told to vote for Zanu PF in the upcoming elections.
“They also tried to teach us about patriotism, civic pride and duty. We were told not to tolerate other parties,” said an officer.
The training sessions are being conducted by officials from the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology which is also referred to as Chitepo Ideological College and is a Zanu PF institution.
“No civilian is allowed into the hall. People visiting are being turned away, because at the entrance there are sergeant majors,” revealed a police officer, who reluctantly attended the training.
“Once inside, you cannot go out. You just sit and listen. The toilets are also inside the hall, so it’s hell. We only go out during breaks.”
The first batch consisting 70 CID officers underwent the indoctrination classes on 6 and 7 March followed by another batch of 96 officers who attended the exercise on 8 and 9 March.
A total of 110 CID officers will attend the exercise next week on Monday and Tuesday.
The last batch comprising 117 CID officers will go through the ruling party’s “patriotism” lessons on Wednesday and Thursday next week.
Duty uniform police officers in Bulawayo have also undergone similar indoctrination.
According to a Zanu PF central committee report which was tabled at the party’s 7th congress in Harare last year, several police officers, prison officers, university lecturers and top civil servants from the Public Service Commission have gone a similar indoctrination programme.
The report revealed that in a bid to drum up support for the party, a virtual ideology symposium was organised in 2021 for all state universities and the Robert Gabriel Mugabe School of Intelligence.
Part of the central committee report reads, “Two workshops for sergeant majors and officers-in-charge of police stations were held separately at Ntabazinduna Training Centre near Bulawayo. Workshops were also held for members of the (police) Support Unit at Shamva Training Depot and superintendents and above at Morris Depot,” the report read.
“Since last year, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) recruits have been undergoing ideological training at Ntabazinduna Training Depot as part of their recruit training package. The trend or practice has become a permanent feature as agreed between the school and ZPCS.
“Five-day workshops have been held in all provinces for newly-elected district co-ordinating committee members, traditional leaders and civil servants so that they work in harmony in pursuit of government developmental programmes as well as cultivating the spirit of patriotism.
“Three workshops for directors and deputy directors were held between 2021 and 2022. The Public Service Commission (PSC) requested the school to hold the workshops as part of its re-orientation programme.”
Early this year Zanu PF through its Chitepo School of Ideology also frogmarched lecturers from across the country’s universities to attend similar indoctrination training at the Midlands State University.
Civil servants are prohibited by the constitution from dabbling in active political party politics such as enrolling for Zanu PF indoctrination training, but the party uses coercion and threats of victimisation to browbeat dissenters.