Zimbabwe Police Acquire U.S.$1 Million Vehicles: A Misplaced Priority?

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 Ask some individuals of recent what they think about the situation in Zimbabwe, some tell you that the government is just like a busy man trying to pursue a rat in the house while the rest of the house is being burnt down. Is this really a true picture of the Zimbabwean situation? Well, looking at what is happening in the beautiful country of recent, one might not be entirely wrong to believe so.

Recently, while many hardworking and committed workers in Zimbabwe have not been paid their salary for months, while the hospitals in Zimbabwe have ran out of basic medicines including painkillers, coupled with the terrible economic strangulation facing an average Zimbabwean family, the Police have acquired a fleet of vehicles, which include trucks, buses, utility and traffic enforcement vehicles worth $1 million. The acquired vehicles, mainly 25 Ford Ranger single cab trucks, 28 traffic enforcement Ford Fiesta B- cars and two buses will be used to maintain law and order countrywide, according to Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, who was present yesterday during the commissioning ceremony of the vehicles in Harare.

Apart from the present fleet of vehicles commissioned yesterday, President Robert Mugabe had earlier in May 2015, equally officially commissioned another 97 vehicles   for the police. The vehicles included 77 trucks and 20 buses.

“It is no doubt that this new fleet of vehicles will go a long way in enhancing your efforts in maintaining law and order, in particular, enforcing good behaviour by road users,” Dr Chombo explained.

While the government would quickly defend the purchase of the fleet as a necessary investment aimed at tackling crime and lawlessness, others might argue that it is a misplaced priority and at best, that the government has another motive. They believe the government wants to buy the police force over and make them happy, in view of the upcoming elections. Furthermore, the opponents of the government vehicle spending argue that those vehicles would be used rather against the protesting citizens during the election. They challenge the government to explain why it would rather spend $1 million to purchase vehicles for the police while many poor patriotic workers have not been paid their salary.

The statement from Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri equally adds more confusion to the whole vehicle discourse:

“We always stand ready to lawfully and decisively deal with criminal malcontents, who quite often, are drenched in sheep skins when in actual fact they are shameful agents of the tired crusade of the illegal regime change agenda in Zimbabwe. The law will indeed be applied squarely, fairly and without fear or favour,” he said.

In view of the fears of the government critics above, one might ask: Is Dr Chihuri’s statement above a justification for the purchase of the fleet of vehicles or a warning to those who might have the intention to demonstrate against the government in view of the serious economic situation in the country?   Perhaps Oga Chihuri knows the right answer.