Editorial Comment

Govt must fully resource police

THE plea from the parliamentary committee on home affairs and defence to the government to fully resource the police must be heeded as a matter of urgency.

In recent months, the country has witnessed an unprecedented upsurge in violent crimes. Armed robberies have not become a norm than an exception and worryingly they are being executed either by serving or retired members of the army and police forces.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga have on several occasions proscribed the vice, but their words are not matching the resources the government has deployed to fight the scourge. Our police are run from a shoe-string budget. Most private security companies are better equipped to fight crime than our national police service, hence the call by the parliamentary committee makes sense.

“The paltry (current budgetary) allocation amounting to $6,7 billion cannot adequately cover the police’s needs. All goods and services for the police service are inescapable, and require an ideal budget of $35,2 billion,” the committee said in its report to Parliament.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) should be … funded so that it can be fully equipped with up-to-date, modern technology facilities and equipment that will facilitate the monitoring of all crime flash points anywhere in the country, so that criminal elements can be identified and apprehended timeously.

“Acquisition of firearms and replenishment of ammunition is a major priority, especially considering the impending 2023 general elections, VIP guards and escorts, counter insurgents, tracking and escorting dangerous and armed criminals among other key police duties. Fuels, oils and lubricants needed for mobility must be adequately provided. Currently, the organisation is receiving between seven percent and 10 percent of its monthly fuel requirements,” it added.

This came as the country is grappling with escalating violent crime, which includes armed robberies — which in some cases involved people with security backgrounds. Only last week, three heavily-armed robbers were shot dead by a well-known former senior policeman-turned-lawyer, Joseph Nemaisa, in Harare — after they stormed his home and held his terrified family hostage. Should we say more besides reiterating what the parliamentary committee said — the government must fully resource the police so they can execute their mandate fully, without fear or favour.

Elections are around the corner, and the police need state of art resources to fight possible violence before, during and after the polls.