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Mnangagwa's govt splashes US$60m on police

by Staff reporter
21 Dec 2022 at 20:11hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has set aside US$60 million and several billions in local currency for police operations for next year.

This comes ahead of elections next year, which are likely to be held in July or August.

Responding to issues raised by legislators on the 2023 national budget last Friday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said it was imperative that critical sectors such as the police and army be supported.

He said police critically needed mobility, cantonment or institutional accommodation, and rations.

"At least US$60 million has been reserved for mobility of the security forces," Ncube said.

 "On the issue of mobility - and as I mentioned yesterday; as with the Defence ministry, we have sourced US$60 million for purposes of purchasing cars as well as motor cycles for the police including four helicopters. That procurement is underway now and they will receive their cars and will be mobile."

On institutional accommodation, Ncube said $230 million has been allocated through the previous budget for a facility at Tomlinson Depot.

"$50 million was allocated to Buchwa Police Camp, while $150 million was allocated for the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) clothing factory for making of uniforms, and another $150 million for the head office for drilling boreholes to provide clean water.

"We also allocated $300 million for the Dotito Police Station and another $30 million for the Hwedza Police Station.  We have been targeting various police stations and upgrading the quality of their facilities."

Ncube said suggestions for the construction of affordable and durable wooden accommodation for police officers were welcome.

Kadoma Central legislator Chinyanganya Muchinepiri (MDC Alliance) raised concern over the deplorable state of the country's prisons and prison wardens' accommodation.

He proposed that funding be increased to improve the situation.

Seke Chikomba legislator Tatenda Mavetera said $93 million allocated for prison rations was too little to cater for inmates' food for the whole year.

"Considering that we have got a whole year and that we have 25 000 prisoners across the country, we are kindly asking if we can then be able to increase that budget. If you can increase just a little concerning prisoners," Mavetera said.

Harare East MP Tendai Biti said the conditions of prisoners were pathetic, deplorable and sad.

"I am hoping that you can take from your pocket; we know it is a bit strained. You can take at least $2 billion and add it to prisons. Prisoners do not have adequate food and clothing. The cells are infested with lice. I am requesting that our prisoners be looked after very well.  I was at Harare Central Prison very recently when I was interviewing death row prisoners, it was shocking to see that most of them were malnourished and starving," Biti said.

"I am appealing to the Finance minister to consider the plight of prisoners. If you are locked up at Chikurubi Prison weighing 105kg, by the time you come out, you will be so thin like a cockroach due to starvation. I am requesting that you take $2 billion from your back pocket and increase the budget of prisons."

Biti said prison guards' salaries were very low.

"In fact, prison guards earn far less than teachers and soldiers yet they are all civil servants. I am asking that you increase the budget for prisoners and that of prison guards," he said.

But Ncube said prisons should make use of their farms to produce food.

"In addition to that, I talked about this US$60 million that we have sourced for the entire defence security sector. The Prison Services are included not only in terms of vehicles for the officers but also vehicles for transporting prisoners to the courts and back. That is also included. You will see a change in this regard. Having said this, I, therefore, propose that I still add half a billion Zimbabwe dollars ($500 million) to support our prison services," Ncube said.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe
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