By Staff Reporter
SOLDIERS deployed in Kwekwe to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown regulations have been accused of allowing an unlicensed restaurant in the central business district to continue operating in exchange for free hot plates of sadza for members on patrol duties.
The claims were made by the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA), which has since petitioned the Kwekwe Central Police Station and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to investigate the conduct of the soldiers and the restaurant.
The army personnel is also accused of soliciting for bribes at service stations from motorists waiting for fuel.
“We are in receipt of several complaints from ACT community structures and members of the public against soldiers who are soliciting bribes at fuel stations, check-points and in the community,” the petition to the police and ZACC, dated 4 June 2020 reads in part.
“In the CBD of Kwekwe, these soldiers have allegedly gained notoriety for soliciting bribes to fuel vehicles at Total and Trek garages. Please visit these garages at any time when there is fuel to understand this. You will see some vehicles going to the pump by-passing the queues,” the petition reads.
ACT said soldiers were allowing a restaurant in the CBD to operate in return for free meals when they are on patrol duty.
“In Kwekwe again, a restaurant at the back of Mudhomboyi Butchery has remained open throughout the lockdown against the Covid-19 regulations because of protection from soldiers who allegedly enjoy free meals in exchange of the protection thereof,” the petition reads.
Similar reports, according to ACT were observed at Gokwe Centre.
“In the town of Gokwe, we referred one of the complaints to the police but they refused to take action claiming they do not have authority to interfere when soldiers are involved. Corruption by soldiers in Gokwe continues with impunity. If the police cannot arrest soldiers, who can arrest them or at least reprimand them?”