POLICE Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga has disbanded the traffic section, rendering top posts in that department redundant, as he moves to create a lean structure at the top following indications the top brass has been milking the fiscus and burdening his budget.
In a memo dated September 13 and addressed to all stations, Matanga announced the restructuring of the traffic branch, which had become the cash cow, funding police operations and flashy lives of top officers in the force before the November military coup last year.
“Addressees are hereby advised that the restructuring exercise agreed on by the central planning committee (CPC) through CPC minute 8/2018 in respect of the Traffic branch is now underway, with immediate effect all traffic stations are to report both administratively and operationally to officers commanding district in which they are currently operating,” the memo read.
Previously, the Traffic branch had its own reporting structure with its own officer commanding at district, provincial and a national traffic co-ordinator, who was stationed at Morris Depot, but these posts have now been made redundant.
Former national traffic co-ordinator Assistant Commissioner Elliot Muswita has been transferred to Mutare.
Matanga opened a process to identify new leaders for the traffic sections under their command, saying names should be forwarded to him for consideration.
“As a preliminary step in the exercise, all officers commanding provinces are, therefore, directed to identify suitable members of the rank of inspector capable of heading traffic sections in their respective provinces, the list of nominees should be immediately submitted to this office,” he wrote in the memo.
The Minerals and Border Control branch together with Anti-Stock Theft have also suffered a similar fate after being reduced to sections as opposed to branches.
The creation of branches in traffic, minerals and anti-stock theft had created fat cats in the police and multiple reporting structures were creating problems and fanning corruption within the police, insiders said.
“There were a lot of bosses doing nothing and most of these presided over massive corruption, especially at the minerals and traffic branches. These had become cash lords in the force and collapsing the branches makes command structure easy and manageable,” a senior police officer said.
National Traffic, which operated the national highway patrol, drew massive allowances for accommodation, meals and did not respect the authority of officers commanding districts, according to insiders.