BY BRENNA MATENDERE
CHIEF Malisa from Silobela, Midlands province, has accused police officers in Zhombe of receiving bribes and shielding livestock thieves from arrest and prosecution.
Speaking at the Chiefs’ Council meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Christian Churches in Gweru on Monday, the chief said communities were outraged by the police’s reluctance to bring stocktheft culprits to book.
“There is an area called Ntingwe; criminals from that area travel around nearby places stealing cattle, goats, donkeys and other livestock. They then take these to their area, but if you report to the police, the criminals are not arrested. Actually, that place has become a haven of stocktheft criminals, but they are known by the people. If you report them to the police, they are never arrested because they pay the officers and are protected,” Chief Malisa said.
He also revealed that the criminals were murdering people who denounced their criminal activities.
“Those criminals at Ntingwe can actually kill to protect themselves from being pursued. It is a sad situation and I call upon people from far areas who have lost their livestock to visit Ntingwe and search for them there. It is an area where stolen livestock can be found,” Chief Malisa said.
He revealed that at one time, he organised people from Silobela and hired a truck to ferry them to Ntingwe to look for their stolen livestock.
“We recovered 87 donkeys during that exercise. We are calling upon the authorities to look into the matter. I actually know a police officer in Ntingwe who is behind the cattle rustling syndicate. At this stage, I will not name him, but I urge the police to help us end this menace,” he said.
The chief also highlighted that some illegal miners bribe police officers to carry out their unlawful activities in Silobela and bemoaned inaction by their superiors in the area despite numerous reports.
Midlands police officer commanding operations, Assistant Commissioner Peter Sibanda told Southern Eye that his office would investigate the reports.
“As police, we know that we might be having bad apples in the force. However, what is important, is for people to come to us with information which can link the police officers to the crimes. We will definitely act,” he said.
“I am going to talk to Chief Malisa to give me the name of the police officer he talks of being corrupt. We are going to act on the reports of what is happening in Ntingwe.”