BY SILAS NKALA
LIVESTOCK farmers in Matabeleland South have raised concerns over the failure by police top brass to arrest and discipline officers accused of running organised cattle rustling syndicates in the province.
This was after it emerged that some of the police officers involved in livestock scams have been transferred to other provinces as punishment.
The farmers said it was disturbing that the accused junior officers could escape with lateral transfers when stock-theft carried a mandatory 9-year jail sentence.
Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe last week said the government had launched a crackdown on police officers linked to organised cattle rustling syndicates operating along the Zimbabwe-Botswana border.
Kazembe said a number of officers had been redeployed pending investigations.
But Matabeleland South Anti-Stock Theft Association chairperson Victor Sibanda was not amused by Kazembe’s remarks that some cops involved in stock theft were being transferred.
“The government must listen to the people. We heard that a number of officers have also been redeployed. But as a farmer and neighbourhood watch team member, I am not happy at all about what is happening,” Sibanda said.
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He called on the Home Affairs ministry to name and shame the cops involved in stock-theft to re-build trust.
“Government knows that our region is for ranching but stock theft has left us with nothing now. Cattle rustlers get arrested only to be given bail and go back to their evil ways. Villagers are appealing for the government to be sincere and genuine when dealing with the cases of cattle rustling,” he said.
“Government must work with chiefs and locals to stop stock theft. We also call on the ministry to release names of the officers implicated in stock theft. He (Kazembe) must name and shame them in order for us to have trust in them.
“We want full names of the officials, their stations and ranks. We are tired of these games of transferring police.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently set up an inter-ministerial committee to tackle rampant cross-border cattle rustling.
This followed concerns raised during the recent third session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Victoria Falls. The committee was given up to April 30, 2022, to contain the situation.
Tshanyaugwe Nhwali, Mlambaphele, Guyu, Manama, Mankonkoni Rustlers Gorge and Ngoma have been identified as the work affected in livestock theft
On March 26, police in Matabeleland South in a combined operation with Botswana Police Services and villagers recovered 21 cattle which were stolen from Botswana. The suspects ran away.