THE cash-strapped government has failed to deploy two squads of Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) recruits who have since completed their training but could not be sent to various stations due to lack of cash to pay them, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
Police sources said the recruits, some of whom have already spent a year at Morris Depot training centre, have not been deployed and are being kept at the main training centre. Each squad comprises 21 recruits.
“Two groups of police recruits have spent almost a year at Morris Depot awaiting deployment,” said a source at Morris Depot. “Various reasons are being given as reasons for their non-deployment including overstaffing at police stations around the country,” said a source.”But the suspicion is that government simply cannot afford to pay them.
One of the recruits interviewed on condition of anonymity said: “Occasionally we are sent out to fill staffing gaps at nearby stations, otherwise we are not occupied most of the time. We have to make do with menial tasks such as cleaning tasks and helping out here and there but we are idle much of the time.”
Failure to deploy the police recruits comes at a time when government is unable to employ thousands of nurses that have graduated following the freezing of posts five years ago.
Sources said the broke government has been making drastic reductions in recruitment of uniformed forces and nurses due to lack of funds. The reduction has been going on gradually over the years and according to sources at several nurses’ training schools, tutors made redundant have been deployed to work as nurses.
Last year the Zimbabwe National Army forced its members countrywide to go on two weeks’ leave every month to reduce spending on, among others, food and utility bills at barracks.
Before the 2013 harmonised elections government embarked on a massive recruitment drive to aid Zanu PF to win the do-or-die polls. The ZRP reportedly recruited an unplanned 10 000 policemen to beef-up manpower ahead of the constitutional referendum and the elections.
Efforts to get comment from police spokesperson Charity Charamba were unsuccessful as she had not responded to questions at the time of going to press.