Editorial Comment

Parly must dig deeper

THE parliamentary portfolio committee on defence and security says it will soon summon commanders of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the police to dig on why in recent months there has been an upsurge in armed robberies involving serving and retired soldiers and police officers.

Assault rifles have been used in executing the robberies.

In 2021 over US$5 million was lost to robberies and the situation is slowly becoming scary. Citizens are no longer safe at all.

What is worrying is that the robbers now have the cheek to confront their victims in their home and it appears they are trailing and later pounce on businesspeople.

The parliamentary portfolio committee said it had compiled a report on most of the robberies which happened last year, hence the probe.

It’s high time to flush out rogue members of the army and the police. The country also needs to tighten security at its borders to prevent the proliferation of guns into the country.

Some have attributed the upsurge of robberies to the economic situation in the country.

Most people are scrapping for a living though the economy last year showed signs of recovery as characterised by relative stability in prices of goods and service. The economy was projected to grow by over seven percent.

The expectation this year is that the economic recovery will start to be felt by ordinary people.

The improvement of livelihoods is expected to translate in de-escalation in crimes, including robberies. The government must look into improving the welfare of the security sector. Their remuneration is pitiable and the conditions of service have been going down over the years.

When President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube, the economics professor made several commitments to uplift the welfare of security forces.

He promised to improve their salaries, accommodation, procure service vehicles and uniforms, among many other niceties. Just recently he made a similar commitment.

What is needed now is to honour what he committed to. It’s time for less words and more action.

We have no doubt that if the welfare of the security forces is addressed adequately, there will be a reduction in soldiers and police officers involved in robbery.

It is our hope that the parliamentary portfolio committee inquiry into the armed robberies would help in coming up with proper remuneration for soldiers and police officers that would discourage them from engaging in crime.