By A Correspondent- Police commanders have been directed to immediately put to an end the rampant child kidnappings, ritual killings, traffic chaos caused by pirate taxis and general armed robberies targeting families and individuals with large sums of cash.
In addition, the behaviour of some police officers in public places, such as drinking in uniform and engaging in untoward behaviour was roundly condemned by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe on Wednesday when he addressed senior officers in Harare.
“What is more worrisome is that in most instances, the victims are later found dead. Government is deeply concerned that the nation is being robbed of future leaders,” said Minister Kazembe.
“The onus is on you as (ZRP) Commanders to come up with robust strategies to bring this to an end. We should remain mindful of the fact that we have a constitutional mandate to protect life and property.”
Other concerns from citizens arising from a surge in armed robberies, lawlessness on the roads, congestion in cities and towns, illegal panners and alleged involvement of police in some of the criminal activities.
On armed robberies, Minister Kazembe said they were a cause of concern especially as the criminals appear to be targeting places and individuals with large sums of foreign currency.
“It is also worrisome to note that there is rampant use of firearms by people perpetrating robberies and murders. I cannot, therefore, overemphasise the urgent need to tame this tide.
“Our country has always been renowned for swiftly accounting (for) and bringing the perpetrators of armed robberies to justice,” he said.
Minister Kazembe said the reckless behaviour, especially of pirate taxis and commuter omnibuses, has reached unacceptable levels on the roads, which are quickly being turned into traffic jungle.
There are concerns that some of the pirate taxis belong to police officers, some of whom drive the vehicles putting on police uniform to get easy passage at police check points.
Law enforcement officers were implored to heighten vigilance on congestion in the cities, which has seen driving becoming a nightmare during morning peak periods and any time from 4pm up to 6pm, mainly in Harare.
On lawlessness associated with illegal panners (makorokoza) and alleged involvement of police, Minister Kazembe said, “Just before the country went into the first lockdown in March last year, the issue of Chikorokoza and machete gangs had been put under control.
“However, it is undeniable that this scourge has reared its ugly head once again and the level of lawlessness is unfathomable. More disturbing is the alleged involvement of police in some of the syndicates and abetting the lawlessness. And this cannot surely be allowed to continue.”
He also added that some of the behaviour being exhibited by the police in public leaves a lot to be desired.
“At times, we find ourselves asking, are these real police officers? Cases where we are witnessing some police officers drunk in uniform and in public are becoming rampant. There is need to restore discipline among the rank and file,” he said.
Minister Kazembe said the enforcement of Covid-19 lockdown measures had been largely commendable save for pockets of corrupt police details exploiting members of the public.
“For instance, rogue police officers are colluding with bottle stores and bar outlets resulting in the illegal sale of liquor. Remember, all such premises are currently prohibited from operating under Covid-19 lockdown measures. Let us therefore continue to heighten enforcement as the country is not yet out of the woods and a third wave is lurking on the horizon,” he said. He said the complaints he had alluded to as issues raised were quite pertinent and required urgent attention.
“Police Commanders, it can never be business as usual when we fail to guarantee peace and security in the country more so the safety of children. Let us all remember that we swore to serve our great nation. The Zimbabwe Republic Police remains duty bound to maintain law and order, and above all to bring all offenders to justice,” the minister said.
He applauded the ZRP for unveiling its new roadmap, the Strategic Plan Horizon 2025 and that the ZRP Strategic Plan’s broad objectives and key deliverables were aligned to key national policy instruments such as the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS I).
Minister Kazembe said government was alive to the fact that policing the world over demands adequate funding and his recent tour of various police establishments countrywide laid bare of the various challenges being faced by the organisation in the execution of its mandate.
He said concerted efforts were being made by the government to avail the requisite resources which include modern policing technological gadgets and equipment.-statemedia