THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has launched a lifestyle audit for traffic police in a bid to curb rampant corruption by officers manning roadblocks across the country’s major highways, Assistant Commissioner Kenny Mthombeni has said.
REPORT BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
Addressing the public during the launch of a provincial anti-corruption campaign in Chinhoyi last week, Mthombeni said corruption had become endemic and a way of life among police officers, especially those in the traffic department.
“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,” Mthombeni said, adding the ZRP had put in place tight mechanisms to weed out bad apples.
Mthombeni said senior officers of his rank “had gotten off their high horses” and would maintain a physical presence at roadblocks, carry out lifestyle audits of junior members and mete deterrent punishment on convicted uniformed offenders in order to “nip corruption” as some of them had amassed ill-gotten riches that did not match their earnings.
He urged the public to report all graft to officers-in-charge, district and provincial commanders and where they feel their concerns were not fully addressed they should seek redress with Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri who, according to him, maintains an open-door policy.
The ZRP recently said it had arrested 123 corrupt officers last year and discharged 30 others as it moved to clean its image tainted by years of unrestrained shady practices. Zimbabwean police are rated among the most corrupt in Southern Africa.
President Robert Mugabe last month took exception to police’s growing dubious distinction and urged law enforcement agents to be “straightforward”.
A recent report by the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACTSA) last month said corruption by the police was worsening.
The report — titled Stealing from the State and Impoverishing the Nation: Zimbabwean Traffic Police Officers Pocketing Huge Sums of Money Through Bribes at Checkpoints — said: “The sin of corruption is now deeply rooted to such an extent that the culprits are demanding bribes publicly as if it is normal to do so.”
The ACTSA blamed traffic police for setting up unnecessary roadblocks along the country’s highways to maximise their bribe collections from motorists.