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Top cops fingered in smuggling

Godwin Matanga the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
Godwin Matanga the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)

Addressing Manicaland police commanders at Mutare Main Camp on Tuesday in his maiden tour of the province, Matanga said he was shocked to receive intelligence linking local top cops to rampant smuggling along the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border that has been depriving the country of millions of dollars annually by facilitating illegal passage of second-hand bales of clothes.

The top cop who warned that the senior police officers, some of whom he said would even provide “escort services”, were “cruising for a bruising”.

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“It is on record that smuggling is rife along the stretch of the Zimbabwe/Mozambique borderline. For some time, I have been trying to figure out why this is so; with the collective effort from other key stakeholders, why are we failing to make headway in ridding the society of this menace?

“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’m 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.

“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,” Matanga said.

He ordered that they be promptly sniffed out and arraigned in criminal courts, arguing that this would give impetus to the anti-corruption efforts.

“As a province, you must give 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,” Matanga said.

Essentially reading the riot act to a hitherto placid local command element of his organisation, the commissioner-general also accused some of his lieutenants of lacking spine in discharging their work, especially in dealing with political “bigwigs”.

“Earlier, I bemoaned the timidity that manifests in the decisions of certain commanders who quake in their shoes when some high-profile persons, especially the so-called ‘political bigwigs’ commit crime,” he said.

He said while he was not a “proponent of tyrannical leadership” he only had respect for “commanders who knew where to draw the line between firmness and leniency”.
“All, commanders, regardless of their level, must be too kind to a fault,” he warned.

He said the timidity and indecisiveness was also breeding indiscipline in the police.

“Some pockets of indiscipline emerging in the force can also be attributed to indecisiveness inherent in some commanders when dealing with defaulters in the same way they hesitate to take appropriate action against prominent persons when they break the law,” Matanga said.

He urged the senior cops to retain their authority and act swiftly and decisively on all acts of indiscipline and violations to the code of conduct.

Matanga also challenged the police to create “an environment that is conducive to the holding of free, fair, peaceful, credible and transparent elections”.

He said the police should have no tolerance for violence or instigators of violence.

“Bring to book all perpetrators of political violence, even those who merely instigate violence or intimidation.

“You must apply the law non-selectively. Hakuna muti unoera demo (There are no sacred cows),” he said.  DailyNews