POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has reportedly issued a directive for all law enforcement agents operating public service transport to cease their operations.
The order, according to police sources, applies to both registered commuter operators and those pirating as this compromises the force in discharging its duties.
In a message radioed to all police stations last Friday, Chihuri reportedly warned those planning on engaging in the business to stop forthwith while those who were already operators had two months to divest from the business.
Police sources said this directive followed increasing complaints from public transport operators of a conflict of interest with the police operating in the public transport sector and enforcing traffic regulations.
“A board of inquiry was set up to investigate the matter and the board visited all the country’s provinces engaging members of the force on the matter.
“The committee then forwarded its recommendations to Chihuri,” a police source said.
“On Friday, a radio message from Chihuri’s office was sent to all provinces in the country communicating the banning of police officers from operating public service vehicles.
“Some police officers would write addresses of police stations on the vehicles, which the police chief also ordered be removed.
“It was felt that the addresses imprinted on the vehicles were meant to serve as a passport at roadblocks.”
However, the directive is likely to force the cops to use other people as fronts to continue operating as they were making more money compared to their salaries.
“Junior officers are getting little salaries while bosses have farms and mines. The juniors do not have those things and rely on their salaries which are not enough.
“It is an order that would prove very difficult to implement,” said another police source.
No comment could be obtained from chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba as her mobile phone was not reachable the whole day.
A police officer in her office said Charamba was not in the office yesterday.
However, national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said he could not comment and referred Southern Eye back to Charamba insisting that she was in the office.
“Speak to Charamba,” said Nyathi. When told that Charamba was out of the office, Nyathi insisted: “I am her deputy and I am telling you she is around.”
Speaking at a ceremony to welcome three police officers from a peacekeeping mission to Liberia in December last year, Chihuri said there was a conflict of interest in the police owning or running commuter omnibus business.
“It has come to our attention that some (kombis) are owned by members of the police force, but then you cannot be a police officer and run a kombi business as well. It creates a conflict of interest,” Chihuri was quoted saying.