Saturday, September 18, 2021

Prisons vegetable truck impounded for violating lockdown

Virginia Njovo

City of Masvingo police details on Friday, July 17,
impounded vegetables from a Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) truck
which was parked in the opposite Home Base contacting business at an
undesignated selling point.

Pleas from prison officers who were manning the truck
to be spared since the produce belonged to government fell on deaf ears as
council police insisted that they were doing business illegally.

Other officers also accused the ZPCS team of
contravening the Covid-19 national lockdown regulations promulgated by the same
government as well as City of Masvingo by-laws forbidding illegal vending.

“We are just doing our job without fear or favour. The
CBD is not for vending so you are supposed to go to the places designated for
vending,” said one of the council police officers.

After council police refused to back down, the ZPCS
team capitulated and could only watch as all their merchandise got carried

When contacted for comment, Officer Commanding ZPCS
Masvingo Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Social Ndanga denied knowledge
of the incident saying those who were selling the produce were most probably
doing it as individuals and not on behalf of the organisation.

“We do not have any vegetables going onto the market
at the moment, and I have not yet heard about that incident. They were probably
doing it on their own individual capacity because we do not have any vegetables
being sold out there,” said Snr Ass Com Ndanga.

A source privy to the incident, however, said the
produce, which included king onions and other vegetables, indeed belonged to

“They ignored our first warning when we impounded
their vegetables and advised them to go and ask the housing officer at Mucheke
admin offices for an appropriate selling space. Instead of complying after we
released their goods, they went back and continued selling.

“We were shocked as we did not expect such behaviour
from members of a key security arm of the state during this lockdown period. We
then impounded their goods again and this time we took it to our offices where
they await destruction on Monday 20 July,” said the source.

When contacted for comment, City of Masvingo public
relations officer Ashleigh Jinjika requested for comments to be put in writing
but had not responded by the time of publishing.



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