TPF will not have machine soldiers or police, but members will be allowed to exercise their ability to reason, especially when attending to cases and riots
By Andrew Nyathi
Looking after the uniformed servants of the people is a state obligation over and in all seasons.
The welfare of Zimbabwe’s uniformed servants of the people, namely soldiers, the police, other civil servants as well as other government workers, is also among the key priorities in TPF plans.
Our first task in Government will be to ensure that the salary scales of public servants, including those serving in the security sector, change from the current low and miserable levels against the high cost of living.
Members of the security cluster do not have their own or dedicated shops where they buy; they have to compete with people who earn far more than them. TPF will look at international and SADC scales to determine the appropriate salary and wages
People must work for an attractive security sector both in terms of working and living conditions and salaries. (Not forgetting that the currency itself is an issue on its own).
The ideology of treating members like slaves by bosses, not giving them the freedom to think on their own is archaic. It is sad to note that bad treatment has remained the hallmark and culture of the security sector in our country since time immemorial. It is shocking and backward that the service people are treated like machines and robots, not human beings.
It is also true that members of especially our security services are often forced to act against their will, selective application of the law and beating up protestors even on issues where they may agree with them. How can the beating up of people be seen as part of upholding the Constitution?
Salaries are too little to make a difference in the homes of the uniformed servants, yet we all know that they are not allowed to venture into business during their period of service. Under TPF they will be looked after, to restore their dignity, guarantee their future and curb corruption.
Currently, there are no empowerment programmes for after-service, pensions are too little to sustain families, hence we witness bad behaviours sometimes from within these poor servants. Poor service is also not unexpected under such situations. Members of the security services can be called off leave, denied leave for public order even when there is no threat.
This is abuse of the uniformed servants.
Members of our security cluster lack quality uniforms, service vehicles, decent housing and are exposed to public humiliation. Why?
Because they have to ask for support even from boys driving donkey-drawn scotch carts. Police officers with accused persons ask for lifts from strangers, exposing them to further danger. For that matter, there is no provision for supplementary food.
How do they remain strong?
When travelling to and from work, our police officers resort to using private (public) service vehicles as they cannot afford their own and have no government transport.
They are ridiculed by drivers and touts along the way.
Security sector members live in rented houses and rooms and therefore, get ridiculed by members of the public. The Patriotic Front will ensure that this suffering of our security members comes to end.
In the so-called new dispensation even, which they brought about, why is it that the same people who brought about the “new dispensation” still cannot afford to send their children to school and fend for their families?
Fathers and mothers are humiliated and feel useless in front of their families.
Because soldiers and police are protectors of the people, they must feel loved, but truth be told, they currently feel alienated from the very people they serve to protect; they are hated by the public, yet they do not have a choice and therefore, helplessly suffer more.
They feel that they are being used for political reasons when or even though not supporting any party.
The security sector in particular and civil servants in general, must be apolitical. That is the position throughout the world. It is not true that they must be ZANU PF since it is the ruling Party.
TPF will move to address the ongoing issue of security commanders and other leaders unfairly victimising their juniors by transferring them to remote areas, where they have to grapple with lack of clean water, scarce transport and as if they are living in the desert during the world war, no decent accommodation and no electricity.
We will also stop our security forces from being used selectively to settle political scores.
There shall be better working conditions, better salaries, better accommodation and access to housing stands, as well as exclusive affordable housing.
We shall institute security sector rebranding in a way that does not weaken but leads to better professional service, non-partisanship, better equipment, better uniforms, and an improved public image for our security servicemen and women.
These members will be allowed to join or form trade unions for fair bargaining power under certain conditions that ensure the perpetuity of safety and security of citizens.
This will also include being allowed to go on leave uninterrupted, except where it is necessary and in the interest of the safety and security of society.
TPF will not have machine soldiers or police, but members will be allowed to exercise their ability to reason, especially when attending to cases and riots, for they exist to protect human lives and properties.
TPF will encourage the inculcation of fair treatment for members of our security sector in the workplace.
Soft-landing and quick start after retirement arrangement in form of business opportunities shall be provided by TPF government, to secure and achieve better, sustainable and commensurate retirement packages that are life-long for members of our security cluster.
Andrew Nyathi is Secretary-General of The Patriotic Front. The views and communication expressed do not necessarily represent the editorial position of The Sunday Express.
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