NewsDay Editorial: Our police make us a shameless nation

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The story of a team of traffic cops that recently lost their $2 000 bribe loot to a 10-year-old girl along the Harare-Masvingo highway provides more evidence of the rot that pervades our law enforcement system.

NewsDay Editorial

What is especially telling about the Beatrice cop-loot drama is the fact that the police now clearly consider bribe-taking as their major source of income and are determined to continue with the graft at all costs.

No amount of deterrent measures will stop them. Not that there are any serious steps taken by the police chiefs who themselves are widely believed to sanction the graft on account of their benefit from it. It is said traffic officers on the roads must remit a certain amount of money daily to their superiors who sit in the offices that assign them the roadblock and highway duties.

So it appears, no matter how much the police chiefs try to convince the public that corruption within the force is being dealt with, the reality on the ground clearly rubbishes such claims. There is no way corruption that is sanctioned at the top can ever be stopped. The few isolated incidences where the anti-corruption unit may stumble on, will remain that – isolated and therefore ineffective to stop the massive rot in the force.

The corruption that we see every day among our police force, especially on the roads, has become so endemic it has become accepted as a way of life. But the truth is that the magnitude of police corruption executed with the level of arrogance and impunity that we see in Zimbabwe is unheard of in other countries.
What now appears a dream to Zimbabweans is the fact that it is actually possible to have a corrupt-free and clean police force which enforces the rule of law without fear, favour or quest for personal gain.

The police force in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi or any other country in the region or even in countries like Nigeria that are believed to be graft-ridden, have become angels by comparison to our own praise-laden force.

In developed countries the level of police corruption that we see in this country can only exist in fairy tales. But then, if such kind of sleaze is regarded strange in countries surrounding our borders, why should Zimbabwe accept such criminality as part of life?

What is worrying is that everybody, including the Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, the Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi and even the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe, are very much aware of the police corruption that has brought shame to our country, making it a laughing stock and stoking economic flames that have brought our country down.

Is it really that these people are unable to stop this decay? If they can’t, on what grounds then should they feel entitled to stay in the offices that they hold?

Or, is it that they indeed secretly sanction this corruption as a way to keep poorly paid civil servants happy and loyal to them? Whatever the case may be, this is very wrong and very bad for the nation. We must be very ashamed of ourselves to accept such national moral decay as a way of life!

4 COMMENTS

  1. if one could tell me what happened to the Masimirembwa ‘six million’ before we even think of tackling bribery within the civil service.these days bribery has become the norm in Zimbabwe,talk of obtaining a drivers’ licence,or even looking for a school vacancy for your grade one kid,you name it.without bribery i think this country would grind to a halt because no one would do anything.

    • @tiktak- Interesting observation..Like the editor says the only way the commissioner can wash himself clean of the ugly tag following him is a VISIBLE cleaning of house!

  2. Could it be that we have a new definition of corruption? If it is POLICY to take what is not yours, to reap where you did not sow, how can what is happening be corruption? It is sanctioned, which is why it is that rampant. For the old and universal definition of corruption to be re-adopted Zimbabweans have to work together and get rid of the cancer. Currently this will not happen as the proponents of the new definition are very rich, powerful and ruthless. Rich and powerful from the new definition and ruthless to protect their ill gotten power and riches? Fortunately we are going to see more Thabani Mpofu’s in the Constitutional court to remind us that we are sane after all???????

  3. Shame is a word not found in the dictionary or vocabulary of people in certain high circles. Look back when we attained independence, Harare had the name Sunshine City, we were an envy to other nations, our road infrastructure was just super, our economy vibrant, people came from other countries seeking treatment at our hospitals, now its us dying in our back yard as we can not afford even the money for a trip out of the nation for treatment, its now the reserve of the rich, one of our musicians once sang Corruption in the society and thats long back, cant somebody with the power to change status quo of things have a conscience? Does it not weigh them down, such a barrage of criticism rightly so and still just sit back and relax? Really the word shame is not so common, very scarce

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