Harare, January 29, 2014- A board of inquiry commissioned by police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri has found that eight percent of commuter omnibuses are operated by police officers, and the police boss has reiterated his edict that no police officer should operate omnibuses.
Paul Nyathi, the police spokesperson, said contrary to assertions by Cosmas Mbonjani, chairman of the Greater Harare Association of Commuter Omnibus Operators before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Monday that 50 percent of Harare commuter omnibuses were run by police officers, the inquiry found that only 8 percent of commuters were run by police officers.
“The correct position is that 459 police officers in Zimbabwe own a total of 647 commuter omnibuses which constitute only 8 percent of Harare’s commuter omnibus population currently standing at 6 000 commuter omnibuses,” Nyathi said.
“Cognisant of the board’s findings, the commissioner-general of police has thus directed that with immediate effect, no police officer will engage in any form of public service vehicle passenger carrying business.
“This measure is meant to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with the officers’ constitutional mandate as provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
Mbonjani told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development: “There are many police officers who are now commuter omnibus operators and I can tell you that half of the commuter omnibuses in Harare are owned by police officers.
“The problem we then experience is that some of them (traffic police) can be deployed to supervise routes where their own commuter buses operate and in such circumstances they give hell to our drivers and cause unnecessary delays to ensure their own vehicles benefit more from the business.”
Nyathi emphasised that banning police officers from operating omnibuses was aimed at ensuring that officers do not engage in corrupt and other nefarious activities associated with transport operations and related vices.
“Whilst corrective measures are being taken by the police command to ensure there is no conflict of interest, we challenge Cosmas Mbonjani to bring to the fore statistical figures and names to substantiate this claim,” Nyathi said.