Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
POLICE Commissioner-General, Godwin Matanga has moved Chief Superintendent Johannes Govo from Gokwe where he was the officer commanding Gokwe South District over a perennial land dispute in Chemagora.
Commissioner General Matanga last week said they were looking for Chief Supt Govo’s replacement, while he awaits his redeployment. He was speaking during a Midlands province familiarisation tour in Gweru by Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Hon Kazembe Kazembe.
Police were reportedly burning and destroying homesteads of illegal settlers in the area despite Government pleading with the law enforcers to give settlers ample time to prepare to move while the responsible ministry also looks for a place to relocate them.
The settlers were former workers from farms who took advantage of the absence of the owners to invade part of the land. There was a heated land dispute that saw three people being killed by the land invaders.
“For now, we are removing Chief Supt Govo from Gokwe South over Chemagora issues. He has not been dismissed but we are just resting him. So, I have asked the officer Commanding Midlands Province (Commissioner Moses Magande) to look for a replacement. Whoever is going to replace Govo should not be afraid that they suffer the same fate. They have to go and do their work diligently,” he said.
Commissioner General Matanga said there was also growing indiscipline within the force where junior police officers were misinforming politicians.
“We now have a problem in Kwekwe where junior police officers are circumventing their superiors and police communication structures and feeding wrong information to politicians. Some go behind senior police officers accusing them of being anti-establishment. We have reports coming from Members of Parliament who approached us giving us such reports. I made my investigations and realised that these constables were lying and there is nothing like that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Kazembe has conceded that there are corrupt elements within the police force that were putting the name of the organisation into disrepute as well as making the public lose confidence in the police force.
Addressing members of the police force during his familiarisation tour of Midlands Province on Friday Minister Kazembe said his office was inundated with complaints of corruption and ill-treatment of citizens by the police.
“We are grappling with corruption within the police force. It’s not only this province that has been affected but the entire nation. There are reports that some police officers are corrupt so I am warning those police officers. There seems to be an element of truth to those allegations because I got a briefing from the Commissioner-General that officers from the province do not seem to be effecting arrests on suspects but the arrests made are effected by new police officers who would have moved from some other provinces. This is a confirmation that there is definitely something going on. Because how do we fail to arrest people from the province and wait for officers from other provinces to effect those arrests. It is either we are inefficient or we are neglecting our duties. So, we are saying we have zero tolerance to corruption,” he said.