What is most worrying is the fact that most of these robberies have been committed by members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) who are supposed to protect the territorial integrity of the country. As if that is not enough, the speed and frequency of successful prosecution of such cases has been low.
The second half of 2021 was highlighted by numerous reports of armed robberies which have been perpetrated by identified serving members of the ZDF. Businesses like fuel service stations, cash-in-transit vehicles and farms have been attacked and funds looted.
We applaud the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) which has so far managed to apprehend some of the criminals who have been involved in these cases. However, we question the frequency and consistency of serving officers to attack businesses and civilians.
Would it be plausible to hypothesize that the involvement of members of the ZDF in armed robberies is a reflection of the poor state of affairs in the barracks, indicative of the government’s continued neglect of our defense forces?
Whilst crime of any nature cannot be condoned, there is a growing sentiment that the increase in cases of violent crime, including by members of the ZDF, is an indication of rising poverty and government’s failure to honor the social contract- factors that are pushing citizens towards crime as a last resort to attaining livelihoods.
While the government has been in overdrive to proclaim the economic gains of the “New Dispensation”, the reality on the ground is that the majority of citizens have been relegated into abject poverty due to the continued economic downturn in Zimbabwe. The current trajectory of the “New Dispensation”, anchored on the ‘Open for Business’ mantra is clearly leaving out the majority of citizens in pursuit of profits for a few favored businesses closely related to the ZANU PF elites.
In view of the forgoing, we kindly declare that,
- Chapter 11 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear on Security Services. Businesses, individuals, farmers including opposition political parties must enjoy equal security from the national security institutions.
- The President of Zimbabwe, who chairs the National Security Council as per Section 209 of the Constitution, must ensure that security forces are well remunerated and hold their offices in straight jackets.
- The justice system must act swiftly and meticulously to prosecute all robbery cases and secure the lives of ordinary citizens.