The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has promoted 1 500 police officers countrywide in what critics say is a strategy to boost their morale and buy their loyalty ahead of the upcoming general elections.
NewsDay reported sources as saying there is disaffection among junior officers over the questionable promotions.
It has been alleged that the process used was unclear and the promotions were not based on merit but on nepotism.
In the past, police officers wrote examinations to be promoted, while for those not academically gifted, the force would invoke provisions of the Police Act to promote members on account of good behaviour and hard work.
According to a memo written by Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to all stations, all promoted officers will be transferred from their stations after the election. Reads the memo:
"The Commissioner-General of Police is pleased to announce the promotion of the following members with effect from 11/08/23 as shown in order of merit.
Conferment of badges of rank shall be conducted by respective officers commanding provinces (for all provinces/CID/SU) and CSO admin in respect of PGHQ [Police General Headquarters] on Friday, August 18, 2023 at 1000 hours.
All promoted members shall not put on the new badges of rank until after conferment. Staff officer ordnance shall start issuing out new badges of rank on Wednesday, August 16.
Promoted members are to remain in their current stations until after the 2023 harmonised elections."
ZRP spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the promotions to NewsDay. He said:
"It is not correct that the promotions are targeted at boosting the morale of police officers due to the pending general elections set for August 23, 2023.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police has a promotional policy that guides the organisation on promotions as vacancies arise within the system due to natural manpower wastage such as retirement, death, resignation and those dismissed for various disciplinary reasons and criminal acts."
Asst Comm Nyathi said Matanga had not received complaints from officers-in-charge about interference by some senior officers in the process. He added:
"In fact, the promotion exercise was conducted through boards of officers at station, district, provincial and national levels.
These boards then submitted their recommendations to the Commissioner-General of Police.
This was an open system that started at the station level based on merit. Above all, it is not possible for the ZRP to promote all police officers in one go.
The Commissioner-General of Police is even happy to receive names of the said police officers who were promoted at the instigation or interference of some senior officers."