Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Criminals must never be given breathing space to commit offences because that will not only harm people and the society as a whole, but also impede the attainment of national development goals that the Second Republic is pursuing, President Mnangagwa said yesterday as he handed over 82 new vehicles to the police.
Law enforcement agencies such as police were a key cog in the national development matrix of the country, and the Government stood ready to replenish and broaden their capabilities, including equipping them with the contemporary technological devices and applications matching modern day policing, said the President.
The handover came a few months after the Government enhanced the police fleet with a batch of 50 vehicles while Sakunda Holdings chipped in recently with a donation of five high powered vehicles dedicated to the CID for its fight against armed robberies.
“The peace dividend that accrues from the diligent execution of your mandate has a far reaching bearing on the level of investment and overall economic development of our country.
“Interventions by the Second Republic to date should see the ZRP realising its aspirations of policing for peace, economic development, prosperity and ultimately the attainment of development objectives set out in the National Development Strategy 1 and Vision 2030,” said President Mnangagwa in his keynote address.
Armed robberies have been rising in number, although the police have been investigating and arresting suspects.
“Crime by its nature retards the normal function of society, and this requires intervention by law enforcement authorities, the broader security establishment, citizens and the business community, among others. Perpetrators of crimes and offenders must thus be firmly dealt with in order to curb crime, deviance and illicit behaviour. Criminals must never be given any breathing space to commit their illegal, immoral and even wicked acts,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the fleet would boost operations and visibility of the police as they responded to criminal activities and fostered a safe and secure environment for all.
“It is my ardent hope that the handover of these vehicles will further embolden your unflinching commitment to quality services and the delivery of your mandate. Activities such as night patrols should be resuscitated across our communities in both rural and urban areas,” he said.
The President commended the police for the good work they were doing and the discipline they were displaying.
“However, there are still some rogue elements and bad apples who must be flushed out from among you. Corruption has no place in our great country and must never ever be tolerated across any social strata. I compel you therefore, to bring all criminals to book including those within the police service.
“Your own house must be above reproach. Under the Second Republic, effective policing must be rooted in integrity, commitment to duty, professionalism, accountability, transparency, loyalty and patriotism,” he said.
The President warned communities against harbouring criminals.
Turning to conditions of service for the police and civil service, President Mnangagwa said he had directed the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities to roll out a national programme to construct both office and residential accommodation.
“The construction of houses and accommodation is not affected by sanctions. Bricklayers, cement and bricks are local. No issue of sanctions in this area,” said President Mnangagwa.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe commended President Mnangagwa’s leadership saying the fleet would go a long way in containing crime.
Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri commended the police for its swift action after they accounted for culprits behind the death of 14-year-old Annah Machaya while giving birth at an apostolic shrine in Marange, Manicaland.
Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga said since CID Homicide and Vehicle Theft Squad received vehicles, police detectives had arrested 47 accused persons for armed robbery, recovered 12 firearms and 114 rounds of ammunition and had cleared eight rape cases.
“As a law enforcement agency, we shall not sit back while the country is being turned into haven of robbers and murders.
“We shall leave no stone unturned in our quest to bring all criminals to justice. The groups of armed robbers we are confronting each day are not only daring but quite vicious. This therefore, puts our police officers in serious harm’s way,” he said.
He appealed to Government to provide them with specialised armoured vehicles given the increased shootouts with hard core criminals.
The vehicles that were commissioned included 46 single cab Ford Rangers, 24 Kia Picantos, nine Kia Rios, two Renault KWDs and one Renault Logan.