HARARE – The only target police officers have is how many small vehicles, trucks or buses they have searched and not revenue targets, Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni has told Parliament.
This comes after Bulawayo Metropolitan MDC MP Dorothy Bhebhe asked whether it was government policy that when police go to roadblocks, they are given targets to meet in terms of revenue collection on daily basis.
But Mguni said: ‘‘There is a key performance indicator in any worker where each police officer must have a target on how many small vehicles they have searched, how many trucks they have searched and how many buses.
“It is not related to the revenue but to see that they are working, otherwise they will stand under the trees,” Mguni said amid loud interjections from backbenchers.
“Therefore, on key performance indicators, we have targets and on revenue, we do not know because all cars may comply and there is no revenue collected.”
Amid inaudible interjections, Speaker Jacob Mudenda jumped in, saying “the honourable deputy minister has disabused the issue of target on money collected.
“It is the number of vehicles that are being searched, which is the target. So, the question does not arise,” the Zanu PF Politburo member and Speaker said.
With MPs having stood up in protest, Mudenda bellowed: “Order, order. When the chair is giving a ruling, you do not stand up.
“The honourable deputy minister explained clearly that there is no target search for money collected. What is said is the number of vehicles that have been searched by the police in charge at that particular roadblock. That is the issue.”
Bhebhe raised a point of order, saying it was “a very pertinent question”.
Mudenda allowed Bhebhe to proceed.
“I am asking this question because when the police go out on roadblocks, they are supposed to issue tickets because it is not everyone who drives around a vehicle who carries money or has money in his bank account,” Bhebhe said.
“You would find that the police do not issue out tickets but they demand to an extent of threatening people to go to police stations and open dockets. Hence, I am asking the issue of the targets that arise because if you do not meet the target, it means you are going to coerce or force people to pay spot fines.
“This is why I am asking the issue of targets. That is the clarity we want because people out there are going to charge us by the questions we ask and the responses we give.”
Mudenda said: “If there is that demand on the spot, the concerned citizen should quickly phone the police headquarters so that the officer who is demanding is brought to book”
Social media groups like #ThisFlag and #Tajamuka have cited corruption at police roadblocks where motorists encounter shakedowns by corrupt cops as among the main reasons for protests that have rocked the nation in the last few months.
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) has also said the police and the Vehicle Inspection Department that issues driving licences were among the most corrupt institutions in the country.
MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga questioned why police officers carry spikes which they throw under people’s vehicles.
“I would like the honourable minister to clarify which law and policy they follow as they use these spikes.
“There are many people who have lost lives because of this,” she said.
Mudenda shielded Mguni from answering the supplementary question saying he did not know where it was going to “because the original question was about targeted collection and not spikes”.