Police chief reshuffles Asst Comms

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has redeployed close to 30 senior police officers as the law enforcement agency continues to reshuffle personnel in the hope of reinventing itself.

The Daily News can report that a few assistant commissioners (Asst Comms) were spared by the latest redeployments.

Asst Comm Margret Ngwenya-Gono is being moved from Mashonaland Central to Masvingo, as Asst Comm responsible for administration, while Asst Comm Ngonidzashe Chogugudza has been transferred from Midlands to Harare as Asst Comm administration.

Felistas Musvipa has been relocated from Mashonaland West to Harare as Asst Comm Harare South with Asst Comm Khumbulani Ndebele moving from the capital city to Matabeleland North as Asst Comm operations.

Other staff movements effected by the Police General Headquarters (PGHQ) include that of an Asst Comm only identified as Macheka from Mashonaland West to Harare as Asst Comm Chitungwiza; Asst Comm Sande from national anti-stock theft to Matabeleland North as Asst Comm crime and Asst Comm Chinhengo from Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters to Mashonaland East as Asst Comm operations.

Asst Comm Crispen Makedenge will remain in Masvingo responsible for operations.

Famed for investigating Facebook character Baba Jukwa, Makedenge was redeployed to Masvingo from Harare in September 2016.

His redeployment caused speculation that he had been transferred for turning #ThisFlag Movement leader, Evan Mawarire, war veterans’ spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya and secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda into instant heroes by failing to properly prepare their charges following their arrests.

The changes, revealed in a communication from PGHQ’s human resource department, come less than a week after Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu had told Parliament to expect the staff movements.

Speaking to Senators last week Mpofu, who touched off a storm after refusing to cooperate with a Parliamentary portfolio committee recently, said the changes would enhance police operations.

“We are trying to re-sensitise them (police) and we will deploy them in different areas. We want to start from their leadership and try to re-assign them. We are doing that exercise up to the lower ranks. We want people to see different police officers and we are also asking from you (senators) to assist us in this exercise that we are doing,” Mpofu was quoted saying.

He said it has become critical to move bodies around in the police force as some of the law enforcement agents had overstayed in their stations.

He said: “Some of them have stayed for long and have built relations with the chiefs and the community members and when we try to redeploy them, some of them will negotiate with you so that you can understand them because they now have homes or other things that they have acquired in those areas”.

Mpofu said the police were unprofessional and were harassing people.

He said police officers were no longer doing what they were trained to do.

“The police officers in the past days or months were showing a sign of not having much zeal in their work ...,” he said.

“The work is still ongoing... However, for you to change someone’s mind, you have to train that person. Sometimes even if someone is trained, you need to re-sensitise that person because some of us tend to forget,” he said.

“I was talking to them last week; there are certain police officers who have stayed for a long period in one district. Sometimes when you befriend people for a long time, it becomes difficult to arrest them. We are trying to reshuffle them to change that mindset.”

He admitted, the reforms were no stroll in the park.

It is a very difficult operation that we are doing but what I know is, it is achievable,” said Mpofu.

“The president has emphasised on restructuring the police force. It is a huge task that we are doing. You will realise that you are no longer seeing them on the streets, especially on the roadblocks, which was one of the major activities that they seemed to enjoy doing.”

Since the dawn of a new era in Zimbabwe four months ago, the ZRP has been under a lot of pressure to reinvent itself.

In December, it retired its long-serving commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri, and replaced him with Godwin Matanga.

Chihuri, who received his military training at Mgagao in Tanzania and had been the longest-serving police chief after he assumed the helm of the force in 1993, had served the ZRP for 24 years.

He took over the reins as acting commissioner in 1991 replacing Henry Mukurazhizha.

Two years later, he eventually became substantive police commissioner in 1993.

In 2008, he was appointed to commissioner-general when the post was created to replace that of commissioner.

Hard on the heels of Chihuri’s retirement, President Emmerson Mnangagwa followed that up with the retirement of 11 members of the police service namely commissioners Grace Nomsa Ndebele and Mekia Tanyanyiwa; senior assistant commissioners Godfrey Munyonga, Justice Chifunye Chengeta, Douglas Jabulani Nyakutsikwa, Robert Tendero Masukusa, Erasmus Makodza, Prudence Chakanyuka, Eve Mlilo, Grace Maenzanise and Munyori Taedzerwa.

And just recently, several senior officers in the Police Protection Unit who were providing security to Mugabe were redeployed.

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