Army branded new heroes in town as roadblocks decrease, police harassment stops

There is a new breadth of fresh air in Zimbabwe, as the army's continued presence at roadblocks has led to new etiquette from police, who no longer demand bribes, nor try to extort drivers, leading many to brandish the army as heroes
There is a new breadth of fresh air in Zimbabwe, as the army's continued presence at roadblocks has led to new etiquette from police, who no longer demand bribes, nor try to extort drivers, leading many to brandish the army as heroes

Harare – Zimbabwe’s military is being branded as ‘the new heroes in town’ as they continue with their operation ‘restore legacy’ which is aimed at removing ‘criminal elements’ in the country.

The military first swooped in weeks ago and blocked abuse of state institutions like police and intelligence by one faction of the country’s ruling Zanu PF, the Generation 40 (G40) led by Grace Mugabe, Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwao and Jonathan Moyo.

The intervention allowed for the first ever democratic processes in ages. Police who usually rely on the draconic Public Order and Security Act (POSA) to quash any anti-Mugabe demonstrations were powerless as Zimbabweans stormed the streets demanding Mugabe resign.

Without the menace of repressive state machinery, the country’s ruling party moved to expel members of the G40 faction, and re-called Robert Mugabe as President of the country.

Parliamentarians swooped in and motioned for an impeachment of the President.

Just before Mugabe could be pushed, he jumped, resigning midway during the impeachment process, and allowing a new President, Emmerson Mnangagwa to be sworn in just days later.

During the entire time, police presence was at a bare minimum, with officers only seen at accident scenes.

Roadblocks all around the country were reduced by more than two thirds, and those that remained were manned by the country’s ever polite and smiling military police.

Early this week the Zimbabwe Defense Forces released a joint statement together with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, stating that they would conduct joint operations and patrols.

On Monday Khuluma Afrika had been told that military police would continue to be present at roadblocks to prevent corruption, harassment and bullying of civilians by members of the police, who had been identified as corrupt.

Zimbabwe has in the past become notorious for being a police state, with roadblocks often being erected every 5km, and officers using all forms of bullying and extortive techniques on civilians.

Most notorious were the neighbourhood watch (ndini ndamubata) gang; civilians dressed in police uniform with authority of the station, to assist officers conduct patrols. These would extort people daily as if it were going out of fashion.

But the military’s decision to maintain presence has led to joy and jubilation. Roadblocks are now at a bare minimum, and police officers have suddenly become very polite, understanding and compassionate, while all extortive techniques have disappeared.

The country’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa is leading the fight against all kinds of corruption, promising that criminals would be dealt with.

On twitter, businessman Trevor Ncube echoed similar statements.