Zimbabwe fires more than 30 senior police officers

Obert Mpofu

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe has fired more than 30 senior police commanders as part of a process to clean up the image of the force, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported in its online edition on Thursday quoting unnamed police sources.

Police in the southern African country had become deeply unpopular for their traffic checkpoints, which many motorists and foreign tourists saw as a means of shaking down drivers for money.

Following the de facto military coup that removed 93-year-old Robert Mugabe from power, police initially withdrew from the streets and were replaced by soldiers, but over the past few weeks returned with orders not to harass motorists.

The Herald reported that those fired were of the rank of assistant commissioner and above, and that this was effective from Thursday.

When asked about the sacking of the senior officers, acting police chief Godwin Matanga, who took over last month from Augustine Chihuri, a Mugabe acolyte, told the newspaper that “something is happening” but would not comment further.

Matanga could not be contacted for further comment.

New President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month promised zero tolerance in his government’s push to punish corruption that stifled political freedom and economic growth during Mugabe’s 37-year rule

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