BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO OPPOSITION Chitungwiza South legislator Maxwell Mavhunga’s efforts to establish a satellite police base in Unit L have hit a brick wall after the law enforcement agency thwarted the initiative.
Mavhunga had moved in to construct a two-roomed satellite police post using the Community Development Fund (CDF) in 2020, but the building is now a white elephant after police refused to accept it.
The project was initially supported by the former Chitungwiza Police Station officer-in-charge, Inspector Charles Mutabvuka, who advised Mavhunga to communicate with the Police General Headquarters (PGHQ).
In an interview, the MP narrated how he was moved to construct the police post following numerous requests from residents.
“Soon after my election in 2018, I was inundated by calls by residents from the Chigumba area who were reporting various crimes ranging from domestic violence, murders, armed robberies and fights in public,” Mavhunga said.
“There was no nearby police base or station serving this huge population.
“The nearest is a police post at Chirenje Shopping Centre in Unit M near Jambanja Market, which is about 5km away.
“This is not ideal because there are several shopping centres that have emerged in Ward 18, which includes Sokomhenyu and also where a lot of crimes are committed during the night.”
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He added: “After the resignation of Matabvuka, we wrote several letters to his successor Zalawe, who referred us to PGHQ, which kept on saying that it was looking into the matter until we finished the project in 2020.
“At one point I even filed a complaint against the police after they told me that my letter was missing.
The amount received and injected into the project was equivalent to US$2 000.”
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi confirmed to The Standard that the law enforcement agency refused to accept the satellite post saying it was built unprocedurally
“Records with officer commanding Police Harare Province show that the alleged base was built without proper and conclusive verification and follow up inspection proved it was not needed at the sited place as crime records revealed low statistics,” Nyathi said.
“The legislator is urged to engage the local officer commanding police district to get an appreciation of the suitable place where a base can be sited.”
Mavhunga said he had big plans to modernise the base.
“This was going to be a state-of-the-art structure.
“We had planned to put in an air conditioner, provide computers and to create a waiting area,” he said.
“We were also putting in cells which were going to have a separate toilet.
“All these ideas went down the drain as police started giving us a cold shoulder.”
Police suffer resource constraints due to underfunding. For the 2022 fiscal year, the ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, under which the Zimbabwe Republic Police falls, was allocated a total of $49,4 billion.