Discontent is simmering in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) over the criteria being used to promote officers across the board which some say is prone to abuse, NewsDay can exclusively reveal.
Since Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga took over from Augustine Chihuri in 2018, the police force has been promoting officers based on their alleged good behaviour and sound work ethic.
But most police officers are clamouring for the force to revert to the old system where they wrote examinations before going for board interviews.
“Of course, this criteria had its fair share of flaws, but it is far better than the current one as officers are just hand-picked without proving that they are worth it,” said one officer based at Harare Central Police Station, who spoke on conditions of anonymity.
“I am a constable, who was attested into the ZRP in 2014, and after finishing my course at Morris Depot in Harare, I was enormously optimistic that I would one day attain a higher rank. But that is proving to be a forlorn hope. For one to be promoted now, it means they have to be related to the powers-that-be or, worse still, lick the superiors’ boots.”
A sergeant based at Police General Headquarters said as long as the promotions were based on the alleged good behaviour, they would remain a farce, riddled in corruption.
“This runs counter to the belief that the police force is supposed to be the paragon of virtue,” the sergeant said.
Another police officer said although Chihuri allegedly promoted his cronies, his promotion criteria remained largely fair.
Since his promotion to Commissioner-General, Matanga has promoted officers twice, in 2019 and 2020. Promotions for 2021 are imminent.
Police officers are also against the decision that those who attain new qualifications such as law, nursing, teaching are not promoted automatically.
In the past, police officers who acquired qualifications such as nursing or teaching were automatically promoted from the rank of constable to assistant inspector, while those who would have graduated with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) degree were promoted to the rank of chief superintendent.
A recent law graduate, who is in the police force, said it was futile for him to remain a sergeant in the police service. He has since tendered his resignation.
“I am leaving the police for greener pastures, pure and simple,” he said.
Some officers claimed that the ZRP had no money to run examinations, hence the decision to use “alleged good behaviour” as the promotion criterion.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the current promotion system was adopted after consultations with commanders.
He said those force members that were not happy with the criteria should approach Matanga through “appropriate” channels.
“It is not correct that if one is in a good relationship with someone, he will be promoted. Promotion is done on merit,” Nyathi said. He added that it was not automatic that those who attain higher qualifications would be immediately promoted.
“Higher qualifications should assist one to perform well on his job and rewards will come along the way,” Nyathi said.