Corruption now institutionalised

HARARE - During the Zimbabwe Republic Police pass-out parade at Morris Depot in Harare last week, President Robert Mugabe implored on the graduating cops to shun corruption.

In any normal situation, we could have welcomed this plea, especially as it came from the highest office in the land.

Said Mugabe in his address to the graduating law enforcement agents and other guests who attended the parade; “Government strongly condemns the abuse of authority, be it by individuals or the police in general. Accordingly, all cases of corruption, dishonesty and abuse of authority should always be expeditiously investigated, regardless of whether they occur among the police or the general public. All graduants, their seniors and colleagues, and indeed all government employees, should maintain, at all times, a zero tolerance to corruption.”

This is how things should be and we agree that the president has to add his voice to the growing chorus against graft. However, given the reality on the ground, we believe the president’s message smacks of hypocrisy. The State seems to have institutionalised graft and the police traffic section has been cited as testimony of this.

The demand for spot fines, long criticised by members of the public and the legal fraternity, actually fuels corruption. Numerous road-blocks have been planted in almost every section of the country’s roads making travelling a real nightmare for motorists.

In central Harare, one finds police at the most obscure of places like the corner of Samora Machel Avenue and Leopold Takawira Street, armed with spikes and ready to pounce on any vehicle they may choose, especially those turning right into Samora Machel.

Also judging by the defence spot fines have received from the police and other official sources, we tend to suspect the cash-starved government may be encouraging this to fund some of its activities.

What goes on along the country’s roads is known to all and sundry. Members of the public and government are all aware of it and this must surely have reached Mugabe’s ears at some point.

The public ends up paying because the officers manning the road-block will make it seem next to impossible to take the matter to court. Commuter omnibus crews have been accused of paying their way through these roadblocks despite their vehicles not having the requisite papers.

Some police officers have engaged touts who collect cash from kombi operators and log the numbers of the vehicles, which they will give to the police. The police will only grant passage to those vehicles who would have paid.

While government has roundly supported spot fines, we tend to think this is very unfair as it is evidently fuelling corruption on the roads.

Comments (1)

Corruption got institutionalised long-long back; its only that we are now seeing & experiencing the full blown signs & symptoms of it, just like the stages of the notorious HIV/AIDS. What else can you expect from a civil service that goes for months without salaries. Where does Uncle Bob think his workers are getting money if he is not paying them? Even if president add his voice or whatever he may add, its not going to help because all the authorities in Zim are good at preaching the gospel yet so dismal at practicing it! What bob need to add is his absence from government so that other capable Zimbabweans can usher in a paradigm shift from the current politico-economic abyss that have threatened the very fabric of humanity. How can Zim curb corruption of the police when the CEO of police (Chihuri) is not accountable to anyone! Rowai henyu mari yakarara nemusana Sajeni!

Samanyika Chaiye - 21 May 2015

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