The Zimbabwe Republic Police has now resumed its duties as required by the constitution following the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Cde Mnangagwa was appointed President following “Operation Restore Legacy” that was launched by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to weed out corrupt elements that were causing social and political instability in the country.
In a joint statement by ZDF and other security services, ZRP spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the appointment of President Mnangagwa had set a new trajectory for the country. “We, the ZDF and Security Services of Zimbabwe wish to inform the nation that the situation has returned to normalcy following the historic inauguration of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa on November 24, 2017, which has set a new trajectory.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the ZRP had assumed its role as stipulated in the Constitution which among other things mandates the police to maintain Law and Order, protect and secure lives and property.
Police who have in the past been accused of corruption, employing heavy- handed tactics and other anti-social acts, said their operations and programmes will be people-centred. “The Zimbabwe Republic Police would want to assure the nation that it will strive to ensure that all operations and programmes are people-centred in accordance with the vision of His Excellency the President, Cde Mnangagwa.” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
It is not in dispute that the conduct of ZRP officers has in the past received a battering from members of the public who accused them of among other ills, demanding bribes. Those largely to blame for tarnishing the force’s image are traffic police officers who motorists have been accusing of turning road policing into a “fund-raising” exercise.
Members of the public have complained of too many roadblocks prompting Government to intervene and limiting the number of roadblocks to at least four per province. This limit seems to have been ignored by police who continued to mount numerous roadblocks especially on the highways.
There are however unconfirmed reports that teams assigned to man roadblocks are given targets of how much they should raise which in our view is contrary to the objectives of setting up roadblocks. The police’s main objective on the roads should be to tame the traffic jungle which is largely to blame for the high carnage on our roads.
The police should help reduce speeding, remove unroadworthy vehicles from the roads, ensure that public service vehicles such as buses are not overloaded. Most of the road accidents are as a result of human error which means they can be avoided if motorists observe the traffic rules and regulations.
It is the responsibility of the police to enforce these traffic rules and regulations as opposed to be on the road to raise funds. The police, especially traffic police officers, have a very big challenge to change the public’s negative perception of their presence on the country’s highways.
What is however encouraging is that Senior Asst Comm Charamba has said that the police’s operations and programmes will be people-centred. Police can only succeed in their policing duties if they get co-operation of members of the public. We need to emphasise that members of the public can only co-operate if they have confidence in the police.
We therefore want to implore the ZRP to rebrand itself and win the public’s confidence which, as already alluded to, is very crucial. The few bad apples that have turned roadblocks into fund-raising projects by demanding bribes should be weeded out. We want the ZRP to demonstrate that its operations and programmes are indeed people centred.