The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) has attributed the current spike in Covid-19 cases in Zimbabwe to bribery by security details deployed to enforce the country’s lockdown measures.
ACT-SA director Obert Chinhamo said security details who are supposed to be ensuring citizens complied with lockdown regulations were, in fact, preoccupied with lining their pockets through corruption.
“ACT-SA is concerned with increasing reports against ZRP and army officers who are soliciting bribes in exchange for giving a blind eye to violations of the Covid-19 regulations.
“Corruption, thus emerges as one of the reasons why there is an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the country,” Chinhamo said.
He said the police and army must desist from soliciting bribes.
“Anti-corruption activists are reporting that police officers and soldiers are soliciting bribes in exchange for giving a blind eye to violations of the Covid-19 regulations.
“For instance, in several areas, commuter omnibus operators are transporting people along major roads and they bribe their way through police checkpoints.
“In most cases, these operators will be fully packed, violating social distancing.
“Travellers without travelling permits pay bribes to go wherever they want to go. It is thus not surprising that the number of infections and deaths are increasing.
“Action must be taken against these police officers and soldiers. Corruption is emerging as one of the factors leading to this increase in infections and deaths,” he said.
Chinhamo urged responsible authorities to address the issue to avoid unnecessary infections and deaths.
“The management of the police and army, as well as Covid-19 Task forces at all levels, must take urgent action to address this.
“The activities of police and soldiers on the ground should be monitored and supervised. Failure which all the gains made against the Coronavirus pandemic will be reversed and the country may lose human lives,” he said.