Thupeyo Muleya : Beitbridge Bureau
Government yesterday redeployed close to 500 police officers who were at different stations in Beitbridge District to other stations countrywide, amid allegations of failure to deliver their duties to expectations. Sources in the border town said only officers from the Police Protection Unit were spared from the massive redeployment.They also alleged that the poor handling of the illegal demonstrations on July 1, which saw a mob calling themselves Combined Beitbridge Residents Association, destroying property including; traffic lights, vehicles and burning a state warehouse had also raised the ire of Government.
In a recent interview, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi said the police failed to react on time at the height of the demonstration against the new import laws (Statutory Instrument No. 64 of 2016), though they had information on the planned demo.
The force has an estimated staff complement of close to 500 officers in the district.
The Herald is in possession of a letter from the Police General Headquarters human resources department dated August 16 that is directed to all stations.
According to the letter, the transfers are with immediate effect.
Police Officer Commanding Beitbridge District Chief Superintendent Patrick Majuta was swapped with Chief Superintendent Martin Makusha from Gweru Urban.
Supt Christopher Chisedzi (Administration) has been transferred to Chipinge District, where he will head the operations section, while Superintendent L. Zhou (Crime) has been moved to Masvingo East (Administration).
They will be replaced by Superintendents M. Gudoricharima and M. Horeka from Chipinge and Masvingo respectively.
The Police Officer Commanding Operations in Beitbridge, Supt L. Mhandu, will swap with Supt E. Neketai from Mt Darwin.
Police chief national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba dismissed allegations that the police officers had been redeployed for their poor handling of the July demonstrations.
“This is a Government programme, where all departments were directed to redeploy everyone from Beitbridge to other districts. The directive does not apply to the police alone.
“As police, we are the first to take up the initiative. This has nothing to do with poor performance and all these sinister reports we are getting,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said more transfers should be expected soon in other Government departments in the border town.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In November last year, the ZRP carried out massive transfers and redeployments of senior officers at Police General Headquarters in what the force described as part of improving “effectiveness” in law enforcement.
In January 2014, 33 traffic police officers at Avondale Police Station in Harare were transferred to other bases allegedly because of intolerable corruption levels. The officer-in-charge was also transferred.
The final straw came when one of them solicited a $50 bribe from a motorist.
In 2010, about 78 policemen and women at the police station were transferred after their bosses got fed up with their conduct.
Police have been on record as saying indiscipline had no place within the force.