Abel Zhakata Senior Crime Reporter
POLICE Commissioner General – Godwin Matanga – on Tuesday fumed at senior police officers in Manicaland whom he said were steering smuggling syndicates operating along the Zimbabwe/Mozambique borderline, making it difficult for the country to close the leakages that are bleeding the economy millions of dollars in revenue.
Addressing senior and junior cops at Mutare Main Camp during his first visit to the province since becoming the police boss, Comm Gen Matanga said some senior police officers were integral members of well known smuggling syndicates.
“It is on record that smuggling is rife along the stretch of the Zimbabwe/Mozambique borderline which you police. For some time, I have been trying to figure out why this is so; with the collective effort from other stakeholders, why are we failing to make headway in ridding the society of this menace?,” he said.
“The explanation I am receiving is dumbfounding, to say the least. It is beyond the realms of my imagination that amongst you, there are some who have the nerve to engage in despicable acts to promote smuggling. I am told, some are integral members of syndicates and specialise in facilitating the smuggling of bales of second hand clothing through provision of escort services and others act as the conduits for various contraband.”
Comm Gen Matanga warned his officers to stop the ills forthwith:
“Let me thus warn those that are engaging in such sordid acts that they are already determining their own fate. If they opt to remain aboard their corruption boat, they must know that they are cruising for a bruising. As a province, you must give new impetus to all existing anti-corruption strategies and a lot more that the organisation shall continue to devise to deal with corruption. Let no dirt be swept under the carpet.
“You ought to move with haste in sniffing out all bad elements and ensure that they have their day in court. The organisation is much better off without them. Such uncouth elements are actually the spanners in our works.”
Comm Gen Matanga said ZRP must complement Government efforts to fight crime.
“As a law enforcement agency, it is imperative that we complement the commitment so far shown by our Government in fighting corruption, an effort that is glaringly so evident. notably, the sincerity of this resolve has found expression in numerous initiatives which include the recent commissioning of anti-corruption courts by His Excellency, the President, Cde ED Mnangagwa. These courts are meant to specifically and exclusively deal with corruption cases with a view for expeditious conclusion.
“The organisation therefore continues to seek role prominence in fighting this scourge. As you might be aware, the organisation has also responded by establishing a police anti-corruption unit under the Criminal Investigations Department.”
Comm Gen Matanga said there was urgent need to increase police visibility in the community to combat crimes.
He said as the elections draw closer, the police should play a critical role to ensure that the process is peaceful.
“The ongoing training of members on electoral laws and provisions of the Constitution pertaining to the role of the police in these elections must adequately prepare our members for the crucial task ahead. Peace has to prevail before, during and after the plebiscites. You have quite an onerous task of creating an environment that is conducive to the holding of free, fair, peaceful, credible and transparent elections in this province. Add more vigour to your awareness campaigns. Le the message of love, peace, unity and tolerance for divergent political opinion, sink in hearts of the people, through incessant preaching. Promote dialogue among political opponents and their supporters.”