ZRP should reform 

Source: ZRP should reform – DailyNews Live

Maxwell Sibanda     30 November 2017

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has a lot to learn from the
recent professional conduct exhibited by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF)
on how to police responsibly.

While Zimbabweans across the political divide expect the ZRP as an
institution to be efficient, effective and honest, over the years it has
been doing exactly the opposite.

Until recently when the military stepped in and suspended its services,
the ZRP’s corrupt practices had worsened and the organisation had lost
people’s trust.

Zimbabwe Republic Police

The police force – once respected, responsible and credible – had become
infamous across the country because of its unpopular policing tactics that
included its use of spikes on the roads and extortion of motorists.

Over the years, Zimbabweans have complained bitterly at the police brutal
handling of peaceful demonstrations by opposition parties and ordinary
citizens protesting over their welfare.

ZRP has also been found wanting in previous elections because of lack of
professionalism and bias towards Zanu PF as it thwarted or out rightly
refused opposition parties permission to hold their own rallies.

On top of ordinary Zimbabweans’ complaints has been the ZRP’s poor
reaction to crime.

While they could not timely respond to cases reported by ordinary citizens
citing lack of manpower or transport, what angered people were that
hundreds of their officers would be on the roads mounting check points at
every corner, cars and bikes mounted by the roadsides.

And it had gone out of hand with the ZRP now fully focusing on roadblocks
and check points, hence spot fines increasingly became a huge cash cow for
the force amid revelations that they were collecting about $59 million
annually as they worked with targets.

Apart from raising these millions for the force, corrupt traffic officers
openly demanded bribes from motorists with the unfortunate ones losing
their jobs after being trapped while on the act.

After persistent reports of graft in the force, in 2014 the ZRP
transferred 33 traffic police officers from its Avondale Police Station in
Harare to remote stations for alleged corruption.

According to a Zimbabwe Visitor Exit Survey (VES) Report for the year
2015/2016, police harassment was one of the main reasons why tourists
would not recommend Zimbabwe to other potential visitors.

The survey polled 38 680 foreign tourists over a 12 months period between
2015 and November 2016, and found that police harassment constituted the
highest percentage of the reasons not to recommend the country to
potential tourists, at 43,2 percent, followed by harassment by Zimra
officers at 14,7 percent.

Last year, a report by corruption watchdog Transparency International
showed that an overwhelming majority of Zimbabwe’s businesses perceive the
police as one of the country’s most corrupt government agent.

According to a recent report by the International Police Science
Association and the Institute for Economics and Peace, ZRP is one of the
world’s worst police forces and ranks 102 out of 127 countries surveyed.

It is my hope that the incoming government will not let politicians abuse
the ZRP as was with former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko who
reportedly ordered the release of detained acting chief executive officer
Engineer Moses Juma and non-executive director Davison Norupiri who had
been arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on
allegations of defrauding the parastatal of US$1,3 million.

Mphoko also caused a storm after he reportedly stormed into Bulawayo
Central Police Station, and expressed anger over the arrest of several
Zanu PF activists in connection with the intra-party violence that
occurred at the party’s provincial offices at Davis Hall.