The ZRP Commissioner General Godwin Matanga has accused the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) of frustrating their efforts to extradite people facing criminal charges in the country citing alleged political persecution.
Com-Gen Matanga said this today when he appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade chaired by Makonde legislator Cde Kindness Paradza to contribute towards the recently gazetted, International Treaties Bill. He added that the ZRP had since engaged its parent ministry, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to pursue bilateral engagements to enable repatriation of fugitives.
“I am actually making a comment on an application I am forwarding to the ministry of Home Affairs and my Permanent Secretary here as a result of the ZRP failing to bring back people who would have committed offences in Zimbabwe,” Com-Gen Matanga said.
“We are a member of Interpol and there is a facility where as a country we file red notices with Interpol to bring back offenders to the country and of late there has been a development with Interpol where they suspect that the ZRP is laying some politically motivated allegation against an individual. “Interpol has categorically said they will not help and where a person runs away from Zimbabwe and is given refugee status in a particular country again Interpol will not assist.”
Com-Gen Matanga added that some individuals were using their connections to evade justice.
Zimbabwean authorities’ attempts to employ Interpol to secure the return to Zimbabwe of former top officials of ousted president Robert Mugabe hit a brick wall in August.
In one such case, the international police organisation refused to cooperate in the apprehension and repatriation of the former local government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, who is believed to be in South Africa.
After late former President Mugabe was toppled in a military coup in 2017, the new regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has hounded and hunted down his loyalists, including his former deputy Phelekezela Mphoko and former ministers Ignatius Chombo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Walter Mzembi, Jonathan Moyo, Godfrey Gandawa, Walter Chidhakwa, Mandi Chimene and Patrick Zhuwao. They are all presumed members of the so-called G40 faction in Zanu-PF – Mugabe loyalists who were opposed to Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions.
Zhuwao, Moyo, Gandawa, Chimene, Mzembi and Kasukuwere have all fled for the safety of exile, joining other senior officials from Mugabe’s regime including the former police chief Augustine Chihuri and former intelligence chief Happyton Bonyongwe.
Zimbabwean prosecutors recently engaged Interpol to locate and apprehend Mzembi, the former minister of tourism who faces corruption charges, but met similar grief as in the Kasukuwere case.
Interpol officials remain unconvinced the officials face charges of a strictly criminal nature, and fear being dragged into political show trials by a regime out to crush all opposition.