The launch of a lifestyle audit by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for traffic officers is long overdue and will help chlorinate the roads of corrupt elements who have found an easy way of making a quick buck.
There is growing concern over the increasing rags-to-riches stories about traffic police officers who now no longer hide their love for bribes.
The noise about corrupt police officers has attracted those at the cockpit including President Robert Mugabe and Police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.
Commuter omnibus crews plying Harare-Norton and Harare-Chitungwiza routes have since compiled a list of 30 corrupt traffic police officers which they want to hand over to Harare Central Police Station in anticipation that action will be taken against those implicated.
The move by commuter omnibus operators is laudable and worth emulating especially by other motorists who have fallen prey to the police officers.
We applaud Assistant Commissioner Kenny Mthombeni for admitting the existence of rampant corruption among police officers manning the country’s roadblocks.
Mthombeni told officers at the launch of a provincial anti-corruption campaign in Chinhoyi last week that: “There is no denying corruption by police officers is rife at roadblocks countrywide. For this cancer to end, there is need for motorists to desist from budgeting money to pay corrupt police officers. It takes two to tango. It is a fact — both the corruptor and corrupted contribute to the prevalence of the vice. If you know your car does not have all necessary requirements, please park it at home.”
No doubt corruption has become endemic and a way of life for most Zimbabweans.
It, however, becomes worse when the custodians of the law become part of the problem. Who then will police the police?
But it is encouraging that ZRP has finally decided to do something about its members that are soiling the otherwise good name of the police. We wait for the results of the audit and hopefully those that are found on the wrong side of the law will be severely punished to deter would-be offenders. Corruption should be nipped in the bud if society is to respect the police. Reports indicate that last year 123 corrupt police officers were arrested, while 30 were discharged after they were found on the wrong side of the law. This effort should be applauded, but we believe more could still be done by the force to regain the lost trust of the members of the public.
The launch of the lifestyle audit should see to it that there is accountability on how the officers acquired their wealth.
Motorists wait for the day they will travel across the country’s highways knowing they are in safe hands rather than fear having their hard-earned cash extorted from them.