ED Orders Mthuli Ncube To Buy A Fleet Of Brand New Vehicles, Troop Carriers, Water Cannons, Buses and Equipment Used By Riot Police
President Mnangagwa has reportedly ordered treasury to equip riot police with a fleet of brand new vehicles, all-terrain troop carriers, water cannons, buses and other equipment used by riot police, The Zimbabwe Independent reports.
The orders were reportedly given in a top-level meeting on Tuesday, where the president asked how best they could effectively enforce lockdown restrictions in the country’s major cities. The Home Affairs Minister reportedly responded and said ZRP was having a hard time enforcing lockdown restrictions due to lack of vehicles and fuel.
A government source that spoke to the publication narrated what transpired in the top-level meeting and said:
Basically, there was an intense discussion over the proliferation of Covid-19 cases in the country over the past few weeks. All members agreed that the current level two was not sustainable and we needed to be stricter in enforcing the lockdown if we are to avoid a total catastrophe. Everyone blamed the police for the failure since people are now moving around so freely as if there is no deadly pandemic in our midst
So as this discussion went on, the President himself took issue with Kazembe and asked him to explain what the problem really was. Mnangagwa said from what is obtaining on the ground, it appears there is general fatigue in terms of efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus. People are not following the lockdown rules and are highly mobile.
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In his response, Kazembe told the meeting that he has held meetings with senior police officers over the same concerns in the past two weeks and one thing which they have consistently raised as being the biggest hindrance was the shortage of vehicles and lack of fuel. He said ZRP bosses have indicated to him that they are relying on a handful of old trucks which suffer frequent breakdowns.
He also said they indicated that they were in need of a new fleet of smaller cars in addition to trucks as well as related crowd control equipment in the event some turn rogue. Kazembe also told the meeting that the ZRP bosses indicated in their meetings that, in addition to the vehicles, they would also require constant supplies of fuel in order to be able to move around.
According to the source the president then gave the order to Mthuli Ncube and said the matter was supposed to be treated as an emergency:
So after he had spoken at length, the President then gave an instruction to Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to treat the matter as a case of emergency and avail funds for the purchase of the vehicles for the police and related equipment which allows them to enforce the lockdown regulations more efficiently. He (Mnangagwa) was saying it’s better to spend on these vehicles if they are going to help save lives. He also indicated that the informal sector will soon be closed since it has been identified as the biggest driver of Covid-19 cases.
Consultations to determine how many vehicles are needed by the police to carry out their duties have already begun according to the publication. The report also comes amid plans by the public to protest against the government on 31 July led by Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume.
More: Zimbabwe Independent