Police officers operating Kombis illegally

It has been reported that the number of police officers who own kombis is steadily increasing and that they enjoy “special privileges” that others do not, including breaking traffic regulations and bypassing roadblocks.

NewsDay newspaper said they conducted a “snap survey” which showed that many police officers, especially those who have served on UN peacekeeping missions, own fleets of up to 15 vehicles.

The paper quoted drivers and junior police officers who claimed that some kombis owned by police chefs are not properly registered, do not have route permits, pick up people wherever they like and even overcharge for trips during peak hours.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said the Harare transport system has seen a rise in the number of police officers operating kombis. “You can tell which ones they are because they have to write the name and address on the side. It is a requirement,” Muchemwa said.

He added that owners are also required to write the route they are permitted to cover on the side of the kombi, and those owned by police officers often choose to travel along the busier routes, which increase their earnings.

“They have an advantage because when certain operations are carried out the traffic police will not single out their vehicles,” Muchemwa explained. On the other hand civilian operators are forced by ZANU PF youth to pay fees for each trip and bus rank fees for the day.

Although NewsDay did not name any police officers who own kombis, SW Radio Africa spoke to some listeners back in June who alleged that officer Petros Mutedza, the Glen View cop who was killed in a local pub in May, also owned a fleet of kombis.

Listeners on our Callback programme said the 42 year old Inspector Mutedza had a long history of demanding bribes and confiscating goods illegally. They said he was so openly corrupt that he gained enough wealth to own a fleet of minibuses in Harare.

Our correspondent Muchemwa said Mutedza’s kombis still operate in Harare. “I have seen the fleet and it has P. Mutedza written on the side. The address is Mabelreign and it says City to Glen View,” Muchemwa explained.

He added that many police officers now drive nice cars and are making a lot of money from the transport business and other ventures, because it’s easy to break the law. Many have also built very nice houses.

According to our correspondent there is now a lot of resentment developing between the civilian owned fleets and those owned by police officers. – SW Radio Africa News

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