By Farai Chirimumimba
On Thursday, over 30 senior police officers from the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner-General were given their walking papers signed by Acting Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga. This plugging although
lawful comes after Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is on leave pending retirement as the authorities try to “clean up” the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted the Acting Commissioner-General of Police: “There is something happening. Can you contact me tomorrow (Friday),” reveals that there are some rumblings taking place within the executive of the Police Force.
According to the Herald newspaper, the retirement letters were signed by Acting Commissioner-General Matanga and were titled “Retirement from the
Zimbabwe Republic Police in Terms of Section 22(3) of the Police Act Chapter
“This letter serves to advise you of your retirement from the Zimbabwe Republic Police in terms of section 22 subsection (3) of the Police Act Chapter 11:10 effective from midnight on the 19th of January 2018,” reads one of
the letters that was written to Commissioner Ndebele. You will be paid three months’ salary in lieu of three months’ notice of termination of service. The Acting Commissioner General of Police avails himself this opportunity to
sincerely thank you for having diligently served the organisation and the people
of Zimbabwe. Wishing you and your family a pleasant retirement.”
The Herald understands that those served with retirement letters were Deputy Commissioner-Generals Innocent Matibiri (Human resources), Levie Sibanda (Operations) and Josephine Shambare Crime).
Commissioners Olga Bungu, Mekia Tanyanyiwa and Grace Ndebele also received their letters.
The state-owned daily further said that: “Among the fired Senior Assistant Commissioners were Charity Charamba, Godfrey Munyonga, Angelina Guvamombe, Justice Chengeta, Robert Masukusa, Eve Mlilo, Grace Maenzanise, Prudence Chakanyuka, Erasmus Makodza, Wiklef Makamache, Edward Fusire
and Douglas Nyakutsikwa.”
It has taken the authorities in Zimbabwe almost seven years to make some headway in the long and difficult process of purging the police service top brass, which was last done in 2011 when about 11 assistant commissioners were shown the exit door. It is not clear why efforts to retire these senior offices who had reached retirement age had been hampered. It is believed that there may be a political directive that is driving and dictating the recent developments as after effects of the November coup that resulted in the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe.
However, one can also only speculate that the chaotic operation of the police force especially on the national roads were roadblocks had become an eyesore riddled with corruption happening under watch of these men and women who should have been at the forefront of instigating corrective measures may have influenced this decision.
One can also not rule out rumours making rounds that the plug is to clean the police force of senior members alleged aligned to outgoing Commissioner General Chihuri and former president Robert Mugabe. On the other hand practical obstacles, as well as by opposition from within the police’s own may have resulted in these officers serving beyond their retirement age. It might also be reasoned Acting Commissioner-General Matanga wants the police force to regain public confidence.
Impact on the forecast
If the whispers that the plugging was politically motivated, then the country is headed for another major police disaster that will do little to fight rampant corruption that has become synonymous with the police force and may never regain public confidence.
However, if to the contrary it remains to be seen in the next several months, whether this plug will bring significant improvement in the effectiveness of
the police force. Currently the country is facing high crime especially robberies which has a negative impact on political stability and the business environment.