POLICE and the military yesterday jointly launched a crackdown on suspected rogue elements, who took advantage of last week’s fluid political environment, and went on a looting spree targeting top Zanu PF and government officials’ properties following the withdrawal of the VVIPs’ security teams.
Addressing journalists in Harare, police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba and Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi said security teams would also jointly patrol the streets and mount roadblocks.
“Law enforcement agents are already receiving reports of looting and illegal occupation of other people’s properties, particularly farms and houses. This behaviour is criminal and against the spirit of no vengeful retribution and will be met by the full wrath of the law,” Mugwisi said.
This came amid reports that some top military officers had been nabbed for allegedly leading the looting spree under the cover of the ZDF’s “Operation Restore Lagacy”, which saw deposed former President Robert Mugabe stepping down for his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Cases of looting have been reported at farms owned by expelled Zanu PF secretary for technology Jonathan Moyo and political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere’s Harare home.
There were also reports that Mugabe’s daughter Bona Chikore had her unharvested wheat crop at a farm along the Harare-Mutoko Road set on fire, while other property at her farm was vandalised in retributive acts following her father’s resignation last Tuesday.
Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s Choppies supermarket in Mutare was also reportedly broken into and looted by suspected hooligans.
Charamba said police had since moved in to secure VVIPs’ property and increased street patrols with the assistance of the military to restore sanity in the country following three weeks of political uncertainty as the military took charge of all security matters.
“We wish, therefore, to advise the nation that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is now assuming its role as stipulated in the Constitution of Zimbabwe under section 219,” she said.
“You will soon notice the ZDF and ZRP members conducting joint patrols, particularly in the Harare central business district. We urge you all progressive Zimbabweans to respect the country’s laws and co-operate with our officers as they perform their duties.
“The ZRP would want to assure the nation that it will strive to ensure that all its operations and programmes will be people-centred in accordance with the vision of His Excellency the President Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.”