Bridget Mananavire 9 June 2017
HARARE – Under-fire police, in a bid to stamp the worsening rot within its
ranks, last year suspended 357 officers over misconduct amid growing calls
for the revamp of law enforcement system by the restive populace and
At the same time, the roadblock saga which has seen police come under
heavy criticism from the motoring public and international tourists, has
finally attracted the attention of the presidium.
Deputy Home Affairs minister Obedingwa Mguni on Wednesday told Parliament
that they were acting on the worsening rot within the police force.
“That is a worry that we as the leaders of Home Affairs have to balance
security versus quality service to our citizenry. When the police officers
are trained and deployed on the ground, some are doing other things that
are not according to the police policy as a force, which they need to be
“The disciplining mechanism which is there in the police has actually seen
the suspension of more than 357 police officers last year who had been
doing other things that are outside their working scope,” Mguni said.
“Therefore, it is also the duty of the public to understand what is
expected from a policeman so that if that police officer commits something
outside the working scope, he has to be reported so that we deal with the
police office,” he added.
Mguni was responding to Kuwadzana East legislator (MDC) Nelson Chamisa who
questioned the conduct of police officers after they ambushed and fired
teargas at MDC officials who were conducting a voter registration campaign
in Lupane last month.
Among those teargased was MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe.
“Is there going to be a revamp of how the police work looking at what
happened two weeks ago when women had a meeting in the rural areas and
tear gas was thrown at them.
“Even livestock were affected because of the smoke. Is there anything that
is going to be done on how the police work? Looking at how they throw
spikes, it is like the police are not working well with the people.
“Is there anything that is going to be done for them to work well with the
people because they do not belong to any political party but to the
people?” Chamisa asked Mguni.
Meanwhile, police roadblocks have finally caught the attention of
President Robert Mugabe’s office with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on
Monday telling Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo to engage his Tourism
counterpart Walter Mzembi to sort out the contentious issue.
“I am aware that the issue of roadblocks has been raised by a number of
tourists. As government, we remain committed to the free movement of
tourists and the need to ensure their safety. I therefore urge the two
ministers of Home Affairs (and Tourism and Hospitality Industry to sit
down together under one roof and further determine how the need for safety
and movement of tourists can be guaranteed,” Mnangagwa said.
Last week, Mzembi once again complained about the numerous police
roadblocks which he said were driving away tourists.
A recent survey conducted by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency
(ZimStat) revealed that nearly 10 000 tourists rated police services as
“very poor”, with half of them vowing never to visit the country again
after enduring endless harassment at many roadblocks.