"One would want the government to hear those voices and implement on their concerns," Nkomo says in his office, around the corner from where some of the biggest demonstrations have occurred. "But instead we are getting the opposite. We don't want you to say out your views. And how do we make sure you are not heard? We crush you before you express yourself."
When asked if he's afraid someone is going to be killed, the police officer answers without hesitation.
"If the momentum of these demonstration continues, I think eventually they are going to use live ammunition. That is my worry."
REVOLUTIONARY ONCE MORE
The government appears to be settling in for a battle with street protests, but some say the real danger for Mugabe comes from within.
We drive out into Mashonaland, about 90 minutes from the capital, past giant commercial farms growing wheat and citrus. Many of them were taken from white farmers and foreign corporations and handed to Mugabe loyalists under the government's "land reform" program after independence from white rule.
One such farm is now owned by Agrippa Mutambara. We arrive as he is giving farm hands orders, gray suit pants hitched over his blue shirt with suspenders.
During the bloody liberation struggle of the 1960s and 1970s, Mutambara called himself "Dragon" and he was a key field commander. After independence he took diplomatic posts in the critical ally nations of Cuba, Russia and Mozambique.
Now, he has turned his back on Mugabe, saying he is tired of the way the ruling party used fear and intimidation as its main tools.
"We attained independence, yes. We were able to exorcise the colonial demon. In its place we also created another demon. Until there is a change in the way that government is run in Zimbabwe, the revolution must continue," he says.
It was that outspoken criticism, he says, that caused about 50 Mugabe loyalists to pile out of trucks and cars to try to invade his farm recently.
"They said 'you are a traitor,' then some of them started scaling the fence. At that time I took my pistol and cocked it. When I did that, they all went down."
Mutambara is part of a growing number of senior politicians and war veterans who are joining Joice Mujuru's Zimbabwe People First Party.
Mujuru, a former Vice President, was turfed out of ZANU-PF in 2014. Now, she hopes to exploit the divisions in the ruling party and the discontent in the country, in the belief that can lead to triumph in the 2018 scheduled elections.
A PERFECT STORM
Right now, Zimbabweans have a lot to be protesting about. Put simply, the country is running out of cash.
Since the hyperinflation of 2009, Zimbabwe depends largely on the US dollar. And the cash liquidity crunch is extreme.
Each day, long lines form at banks in the capital, as citizens try to pull out their money. Banks place a cap on withdrawals to avoid a bank run.
Former teacher Kudzai Gonorenda, waiting in line outside a bank in Harare, says that makes everyday life almost unbearable.
"If you have money in the bank, but you can't access that money, because of the cash crisis, then it is difficult," he said.
The government has been struggling to pay its civil servants -- a large chunk of the national budget -- and has paid late or less than usual when it can.
Proposals to print a so-called bond note pegged to the dollar have been met with protests and suspicion by the general public.
Though the International Monetary Fund does commend the government for making some tough reforms, it says that no more loans will be forthcoming until it clears the $1.8 billion in debt that it holds with multilateral lenders.
A deal to get emergency funding, though, is not off the table yet.
A NEW ALLIANCE
The macro-economic crunch is made worse by a crippling drought that will leave more than four million people in need of help, according to the United Nations.
Exacerbated by a punishing El Niño cycle, farmers in large parts of the country have been unable to grow their crops. And the cash-strapped government doesn't have the funding to provide substantial help.
One long-time Zimbabwe watcher calls it a "perfect storm."
Among the civil servants who are paid months late, if at all, is the police officer who spoke to us.
"Our bosses, they have got allowances that they can actually use to sustain themselves. But for the lower ranks, as in my case, you can't source money from anywhere," he says.
It's a thread of anger that we hear time and again in Harare. An anger between the politically powerful haves and the have-nots. And it's creating what could be a new kinship, a new alliance.
"The very same people we are beating, some of them are my schoolmates," says the police officer. "Some of them are my friends, or people we live with in the community."