Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu has launched a scathing attack at members of the ZRP who said had become so defiant that they defied orders, often scrambling for the money spinning roadblock duties.
He was addressing senators in the upper house this past week.
Zimbabwe’s much resented police were forced into an abrupt retreat to the background when the military seized control of government in November last year in an operation that eventually forced then President Robert Mugabe to surrender his job.
Since the then, scenes of police officers manning roadblocks in most street corners are now a thing of the past with signs the police has lost some of its powers enjoyed under Mugabe’s regime.
Asked if government had any intentions to restore the police’s powers, Mpofu was blunt in describing the police as a rogue force that had lost direction.
“The major problem is that the policemen were now doing what they wanted, not what the community wanted. No one could say anything to them,” Mpofu said.
“When you tell them not to do some things, they would not listen to you and they would do what they thought was right.
“Many people were harassed by those acts Madam President.”
Mpofu said government was in the process of a major police shake up targeting its leadership.
He added: “You will realise that each police officer was acting according to the way they wanted.
“Those who were doing human resources were using their own policies not known by other departments.
“All departments were doing things in their own ways and no operation would know what is it they are doing.”
The Minister said some corrupt police officers, under the Mugabe regime, were even resisting transfers after they would have fraudulently acquired properties where they had been working from.
He said some were scrambling to perform roadblocks from where they extorted bribes from motorists.
“You will realise that you are no longer seeing them on the streets, especially on the roadblocks, which is one of the major activities that they seemed to enjoy doing,” he said.
“They were no longer doing what they were trained to do and they were competing on who is going to the roadblocks because there were benefits they were getting from that. We have closed all those loopholes.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has noted the removal of police officers from the streets as some of the notable achievements during the first 100 days in office.