Samuel Kadungure Senior Reporter
ACUTE lack of resources has crippled police’s capacity to curb rampant and highly organised smuggling syndicates along the porous border with Mozambique – where the force is only able to deploy at 34 of the 60 smuggling routes.
The highly dangerous syndicates work in cahoots with their Mozambicans counterparts to smuggle banned bales of second hand clothes, drinks, alcohol, whiskeys and drugs to the country’s black market. Testifying before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Security and Home Affairs Services, which is chaired by Zanu-PF Buhera Central Member of National Assembly, Cde Ronald Muderedzwa that was in Manicaland on Tuesday, Officer Commanding Manicaland Police, Senior Assistant Commissioner Isaac Tayengwa, said the force was poorly resourced and hence incapable of prevailing over the highly organised smuggling syndicates operating along the porous border with Mozambique.
Manicaland records about 2 100 crimes per month. Cases of rape involving children between two and 10 years and murder were cited as the most prevalent, while the province records an average of 146 accidents per month. “The whole of the eastern side, which is about 720 kilometres, we share the boundary with Mozambique. The border is very porous, it has 60 illegal points and as police and our colleagues, the army, we are only able to deploy at 34 of those illegal points due to lack of resources.
“The major resource that we require is transport. We are dealing with organised smuggling syndicates, and what we have seen is that they are well resourced and are collaborating with their counterparts in Mozambique. They have high powered vehicles and where we have a very big problem is with those few vehicles that we have, we are not able to track and arrest these smugglers. “They use highly powered and serviced lorries. They are very dangerous when you stop them at roadblocks. They just drive through roadblocks and the vehicles that we have are very few. We are compromised. We don’t have resources to prevail over them,” he said.
“We have also seen that if they want to smuggle goods, they deploy a convoy of say six vehicles along the road for surveillance in front and back, informing those carrying contrabands of police roadblocks so that they can divert to various routes in the province. “It is a challenge that requires your support so that we are able to police the border and ensure that Government collect all the revenue it should,” said Snr Asst Comm Tayengwa.
On the political disturbances caused by RENAMO bandits in Mozambique, Snr Asst Comm Tayengwa assured the legislators that they will not spill into Zimbabwe as the situation was under control.
Cde Muderedzwa said the committee would tour all the provinces before engaging the force’s top brass at Police General Headquarters in Harare – after which they will consolidate their report indicating areas that requires support.