MASVINGO – Money changers who are openly paying bribes to members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police are being allowed to flood Masvingo City Centre in defiance of lockdown rules.
Many angry residents said cops have become the biggest threat to the success of the lockdown because of their appetite for dirty money.
National Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said in interview with The Mirror this evening that the matter is serious and it will be discussed by the Police commanders at the Police General Headquarters tomorrow morning.
Tens of money changers have flocked back into Masvingo CBD in the last three days and are doing business openly in the midst of Police officers who pay a blind eye on them.
Mirror reporters saw a number of cops receiving cash from dealers sitting in parked cars. The practice is rampant along Hofmeyer Street and places around large shopping areas like Pick and Pay and N. Richards.
A money changer who declined to be named said that there is an arrangement where the money changers pay a whole shift of officers so that the money changers are protected from arrest.
“The officers organise themselves then they will collect money from us at least twice a day,” said the money changer.
What irked members of the public is that the cops harassed anyone they would find standing in the streets but the dealers were being left out.
A prominent businessman who has a fast food outlet after Roy along Masvingo – Mutare Highway phoned The Mirror on Wednesday and said that mishikashikas in the area are back on the road in full force. He said that the operators are paying bribes to cops who would allow them to carry as many passengers as possible.
“This is defeating the fight against the Covid virus. I don’t know if Police chiefs are aware of this,” said the businessman who declined to be named.
Pedestrians and cyclists getting into town or going to visit patients at Masvingo Provincial were being asked to pay RTGS$10 by cops yesterday.
In Gweru cops are allegedly asking gold panners who want to get into town to pay between US$3 and US$4.