NEWSDAY yesterday reported that the Zimbabwe Republic Police had postponed the pass-out parade due to a shortage of uniforms, underlining the depth of the challenges facing the police force.
The ceremony was scheduled for yesterday at Mkushi Training Academy, formerly Morris Depot, in Harare.
That the police do not have essentials like uniforms for the pass-out parade reflects on the underfunding that has dogged Zimbabwe’s security sector and other State institutions as we have seen employees buying basics such as stationery and other essentials to get the organisations running.
To their credit, the security forces have implored the authorities to equip them so that they properly discharge their duties.
Early this month, Defence deputy minister Levi Mayihlome told a pre-budget seminar that the ministry was receiving inadequate budget allocations leading to several challenges.
He said lack of funding had affected the conditions of service, acquisition of new equipment and maintenance of current equipment.
“Training of soldiers cannot be done in bits and pieces. It must be a complete cycle. Every year we plan to train but because of inadequate funding we end up abandoning the process,” he said at a pre-budget seminar.
“If soldiers are not trained it affects discipline and we end up having challenges of drug and substance abuse. We inherited in 1980 reserve stocks from the war but with time they were depleted and were not replaced for over 44 years and imagine the wars we have fought and we have not been able to replenish stocks.”
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Security is paramount to an economy that seeks to attract investors under the “Zimbabwe is open for business mantra”.
It is the arm of the government that ensures there is peace which is one of the pillars for business to thrive.
There are no shortcuts to that.
We implore Treasury to be mindful of the role played by the security sector when crafting its national budgets. It is not just about allocating resources but also disbursing such resources timeously.
We have had complaints by ministries that the votes allocated have not been disbursed thereby paralysing operations.
For the security sector, such developments create lapses which have serious ramifications for the country.
Security forces have complained that government is failing to improve their welfare and conditions of service while pictures of police and army officers clad in torn uniforms have circulated on social media as members of the public bemoan the deterioration of conditions of service in the security sector.
This has seen members of the security forces engaged in crime to make ends meet. There has been a surge in armed robberies in which police and army personnel are involved.
Last month, two soldiers and a District Development Fund driver were sentenced to 15 months in prison by Concession magistrate Joshua Nembaware for stealing from the First Family.
In mitigation, the soldiers told the court that they stole the equipment because they wanted to raise money for their children's school fees.
Capital, it is said, is a cowardly bird that flies to safer places where it expects better returns.
A peaceful environment lures investors. The security sector is responsible for ensuring that peace reigns.