THE nation on Tuesday morning woke up to the shocking news of three suspected armed robbers who were gunned down by their victim, a former detective with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, in a robbery mission gone wrong.
Ordinarily, the news could have just passed as another confrontation between criminals and law enforcement agents, but as it turned out this was no ordinary exchange of gunfire. It involved members of the security forces — police officers and soldiers — who have turned rogue.
In this case, their victim was no ordinary citizen, but one of their own.
It should be a cause for concern for authorities when retired or active service men are involved in criminal activities, worse still robbery.
What will stop these unformed men from engaging in terrorist activities if they can train their guns on innocent civilians?
A few years ago, it was unheard of for those in the security services to be involved in criminal activities such as robbery.
They were respected and people could safely rely on them for protection.
The adverse effects of the economic meltdown cannot be ignored in this matrix.
It’s not enough to just label them “rogue elements” when they get caught or killed like in this case. Their involvement in criminal activities is a reflection of underlying economic hardships in the country.
Government needs to immediately fix the economy before the surge in armed robberies makes the country ungovernable.
Armed robbery has dire consequences and implications on public safety, economic stability and also scares away potential investors.
What makes these cases even complex is that a lot of these robberies are carried out by people who are on bail pending appeal.
In December last year, a notorious armed robber who is said to have been on the police wanted list for many years, Musa Taj Abdul, was granted bail under unclear circumstances.
In the latest robbery case, one of the gang members was on bail pending appeal.
One wonders why such privilege is being continuously given to hardcore criminals.
Clearly, the government, the Judiciary and the security services are failing the country.