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Things fall apart as senior police officer challenges authority

By Dr Masimba Mavaza

The police are expected to be in the fore front of fighting corruption. Ironically but not surprisingly corruption suspect POLICE Commissioner Douglas Jabulani Nyakutsikwa, who is facing charges related to corrupt allocation of housing stands, last November challenged the constitutionality of the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU).

Nyakutsikwa through his lawyer Mr Tapson Dzvetero, raised questions on SACU’s authority. He argued that SACU was not established through an Act of Parliament or a Statutory Instrument.

The Commissioner as a senior police officer was in a better position to understand authority. Disrespecting authority means cheek, contempt, discourtesy, dishonour, disregard, impertinence, impoliteness, impudence, incivility, insolence, irreverence, lack of respect, lese-majesty, rudeness, sauce, unmannerliness.

An employee who challenges your authority disrupts the workforce and negatively impacts the morale within a department or division by distracting other workers from the task at hand.

In a police force a challenge to management’s authority is likely to be even more pervasive. Because of the sensitivity of the work the negative morale will permeate the entire organization quickly, reducing progress and having a detrimental effect on the whole force.

The police force must recognize challenges to their authority and act quickly to prevent the behavior from reoccurring.

Nyakutsikwa was arrested by SACU and it was operating under the coordination of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Nyakutsikwa is being jointly charged with suspended Harare housing director Admore Nhekairo on allegations of corrupt allocations of residential stands in Harare.

The problem is that of a senior officer challenging the commander in chief in a public civilian court.

Direct challenges to authority include the outright refusal to follow policy, procedures or the manager’s directives. The officer who directly challenges authority is likely to cause others to be aggressive to instructions, unleashing unrestrained criticism and commentary about any ideas or instructions.

Typically, the others blow up” and vents their frustration to the entire work group and then leaves everyone else to deal with the aftermath of his behaviour.

Commissioner Douglas Nyakutsikwa made an application for referral of his matter to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) where he is challenging the constitutionality of the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) headed by Mr Thabani Mpofu.

Commissioner Nyakutsikwa, said he wants the ConCourt to make an order declaring SACU’s activities unconstitutional.

In actual fact Mr Nyakutsikwa is not challenging SACU but clearly challenges the appointee who appointed SACU and its leadership. He deliberately uses an open court to undermine the president of Zimbabwe.
In a day when society promotes individuality and independence on a different level than ever before, we are faced with an increasing problem of blatant disrespect for authority figures.  This disrespect is directed at the first man of the. nation.

No person will be exempt from the attitude exuding from today’s officers who struggle with authority figures. There tends to be an ongoing power struggle in many officers who feel that they must “win” the battle when confronted on most levels. Instead of owning up to his corruption Nyakutsikwa decided to attack the president in his official capacity.

This disrespect comes in all forms from verbal abuse, condescending remarks, blatant refusal to carry out simple requests, or even court challenges. Once the disrespect has begun to be noticed by others outside of the force it has reached a level that must be addressed by tough measures.

It is an internal battle, and someone is going to lose! How do we tame this inner hostility that has crept outward in the form of blatant disrespect? 

The behaviour of Nyakutsikwa represents many top officials. The government still has top officers who are disrespectful of their own leadership.

The challenges against the authority by those who derived their authority from the authority is a serious betrayal.

Instead of dealing with his criminal charges he decides to deflate the blow and attention from him to the other areas.

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

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