It was just a casual remark. But it was loaded with meaning. Thieves had just broken into my house and stolen almost all electrical goods-a video recorder, a digital satellite television decoder and a radio.
I was in the house with all seven members of my family but no one heard a thing. The thieves had broken a window pane leading into the dining room and had cut the burglar bars before entering into the lounge where they must have put on the lights and selected the equipment they wanted.
The codes had been properly disconnected with the thieves selecting the right remote controls and leaving that for the television set which must have been too big to push out through the window.
I only discovered the theft the following morning.
The property I had lost was worth millions. I invited a security expert to discuss the best security system for the house. My cousin had given me a surveillance camera which could record any activities and store them on our television system soon after the break-in and I was thinking of installing it.
When I told the security expert about the camera he casually said: “That is useless. What you want is to stop the thieves from entering into your house and not to try to catch them after they have stolen your property. You won’t.
“The situation in Zimbabwe at the moment is such that you will not be able to catch the thieves even when you have their pictures because the police will tell you they cannot find them. Even if you tell them where the thieves are staying, they will still tell you they cannot find them. You therefore need an alarm system that will scare them away and wake you up.”
Five years ago, I would have scoffed at such remarks. I would have defended the police because I thought they were doing a sterling job under difficult circumstances. But now, I totally agree with the security expert. Our police have become so corrupt that short of firing the entire lot and recruiting afresh, there is no way they can curb corruption in the country.
This also makes a joke of the current price blitz. It is not the average Zimbabwean that is benefiting but those close to members of the task force.
Our police have become so corrupt that last year, a constable Alexio Zarura, released Victor Mpofu and replaced him with a vagrant that he had picked up on the street. He appeared in court but the case was never concluded. Zarura disappeared.
Police also announced that they had bust a syndicate that issued fake drivers’ licences. One of the culprits Annanias Beavers Mabeza appeared in court. They failed to catch the mastermind Mzingaye Ndebele.
Mabeza appeared in court and was granted bail. And that was the last anyone heard about him or the case.
In both cases whispers said the culprits were assisted by the police to escape because they were afraid they would spill the beans. This would land senior police officers linked to the rackets in trouble.
Right now, while some people are rejoicing at the reduction of prices, ostensibly meant to benefit the poor, reports show that it is mostly those related to or with connections in the taskforce that are benefiting.
A manager with one of the leading supermarket chains said this was obvious because queues formed outside the shop just before members of the taskforce arrived to order them to reduce prices, and people only went for those products whose prices had been reduced.
One man from Killarney said he was inundated with calls from a relative on the taskforce who was constantly telling him about the latest “bargains” before they “raided” shops.
Though Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu barred bulk buying, people are still buying the cheap products in bulk, raising fears that they could be stocking them for resale once the shops have run out.
Global Integrity, an independent anti-corruption agency, said in its report for last year that Zimbabwe had some of the best anti-corruption laws in the world but it was dogged by poor implementation and application of the law.
It said for example there was no independent body to investigate corruption among the police. As such police investigated themselves opening up room for corruption.