Female police officers in Harare yesterday accused their bosses of violating their constitutional rights by forcing them to attend a Christian prayer service.
The female cops alleged their bosses forced them, under threat of US$5 fines, to attend Glad Tidings Church service in Highfield.
The cops were also forced to put on African attire for the prayer meeting.
They alleged the top bosses also broke a law that prohibits them from placing a burden on serving members’ ability to worship as they please.
The prayer meeting was organised by Dorothy Marufu, the chairperson of the Police Women Network- an entity within the Zimbabwe Republic Police established in 2009 ostensibly to empower and uplift female police officers.
Marufu confirmed organising the prayer meeting but would neither explain its purpose nor the need for African dress.
“The meeting is taking place in Highfield but I am driving now I will call you after 30 minutes,” she said.
Christians and non-Christians alike were forced to attend the service.
” The force can’t tell people which god to pray to, or whether to pray at all,” said one of the cops.
Another officer who attended the meeting said: “We do not understand the importance of this prayer session but we were threatened with disciplinary if we absconded while those who failed to buy the African dresses will pay US$5 fine.
“Nothing of substance was discussed at the meeting that we must continue to part with our money in contributions to the network which vary from district to district, depending on their projects.
“Nobody wanted to come because some of us are not even members of this church but the woman (Marufu) would not listen to us when we raised the issue of freedom of worship.
This is a clear case of abuse of authority but what other option did we have when it is an order from higher authorities?”
Some of the officers who were made to abandon their duties for the prayer session alleged that their bosses were the biggest beneficiaries.
“Apart from being forced to buy clothes for the prayer, nobody even considered that our religious beliefs may not be the same,” another officer who attended the meeting said.