Kwekwe, Zimbabwe: The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) is concerned with increasing reports against ZRP and Army officers who are soliciting bribes in exchange for giving a blind eye to violations of the COVID-19 regulations.
Corruption thus emerges as one of the reasons why there is an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the country.
Mr. Obert Chinhamo, the Director of ACT-SA urged the police and army to desist from soliciting bribes.
“Anti-corruption activists are reporting that police officers and soldiers are soliciting bribes in exchange for giving a blind eye to violations of the Covid-19 regulations. For instance, in several areas commuter omnibus operators are transporting people along major roads and they bribe their way through police checkpoints. In most cases, these operators will be fully packed violating social distancing. Travellers without travelling permits pay bribes to go wherever they want to go. It is thus not surprising that the number of infections and deaths are increasing. Action must be taken against these police officers and soldiers. Corruption is emerging as one of the factors leading to this increase in infections and deaths” he says
Mr. Chinhamo recommended that the management of the police and army, as well as the Covid-19 Task forces at all levels, should urgently address this issue to avoid unnecessary infections and deaths.
“The management of the police and army, as well as Covid-19 Task forces at all levels, must take urgent action to address this. The activities of police and soldiers on the ground should be monitored and supervised. Failure which all the gains made against the Coronavirus pandemic will be reversed and the country may lose human lives” he adds.
On the 21st day of July 2020, the same concern was raised and discussed by members of the Kwekwe Covid-19 Taskforce who tasked Sup. Makuni from the ZRP Kwekwe to investigate the issues of pirate commuter omnibus operators, and the mushrooming of shebeens selling alcohol. In April 2020, ACT-SA reported that police and army soldiers in Kwekwe allowed certain bars and restaurants owned by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to operate when everyone else had closed.