Several senior police officers have been forced out, accused of failing to prevent fuel protests that gripped the country on January 14 – the third major reshuffle since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over power in a military coup in November 2017.
Bulawayo, the epicentre of the protests which later turned violent with dozens of shops being looted, will be under a new commander after Senior Assistant Commissioner Happymore Sigauke was ordered to retire, ZimLive has learnt. Commissioner Bernard Dumbura arrives from the Police General Headquarters as the new police chief.
Sigauke was only promoted to the position last December after Learn Ncube was elevated to Deputy Commissioner General.
Commissioner Erasmus Makodza is the new police chief for Mashonaland East, taking over from Senior Assistant Commissioner Lee Muchemwa who has also been retired after protests rocked Marondera, the province’s capital. Chief Superintendent George Nenguwo, who was the district police chief for Marondera, also lost his command. Chief Superintendent Didymus Masiwa Sakarombe from Mashonaland West police headquarters will take over his position.
The district police chief for Chitungwiza, Chief Superintendent Sekayi Mujiwa, has also been retired.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa first purged the police after the coup, to remove senior officers seen as loyal to former President Mugabe.
Last December, he again rang the changes, promoting loyalists to top positions while retiring suspected remnants of Mugabe’s supporters.
The latest purge is meant to punish police chiefs who failed to come down hard on protesters. Mnangagwa deployed the army, which has been accused of shooting at least 100 people and killing over a dozen people.
A police source told ZimLive: “They are targeting senior police officers for failing to come down hard on protesters. It would be noted that they are not arresting soldiers who have been killing and raping people. The test is how brutal you are.”