Harare province Assistant Commissioner Tawonei Nyazema stands accused of extorting, for protection fees, from illegal kombi operators in exchange for turning a blind eye to their infractions.
Ass Comm Nyazema is also alleged to be collecting fees from beerhalls, second hand clothe(bales) traders and buses tussling for long distance routes.
“He uses Police Reaction Group to settle scores at Mbudzi roundabout ,Mbare and Mabvuku beer hall wars .
“He has been impounding vehicles for more than 48 hours which is not required by law for not paying a fee to Operate within the CBD and peripheries.
“Some of the vehicles have been impounded up to three months , a vehicle belonging to Fabian was locked up for overtaking and several others which are in Milton Park and Harare Central police station,” lamented a victim.
Sources allege that aforementioned payments(from beerhalls,second hand bales …) are not being made through official channels, but instead directly into his own pockect(Nyazema) and his close ally stationed at the PGHQ(name witheld)
“He has become a law unto himself,” said one kombi owner, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He is directly linked to certain associations which he benefits from. If you don’t join Ghaco and Zudac, your vehicle is impounded for as many days as they want.”
Nyazema is accused of allegedly drafting an illegal Clearance Form used across Harare Province operations which is not constitutional ,an act percieved by many as tatamount to taking the law into his hands by his self appointinment to being the last signatory to the release of all vehicles impounded leaving Dispols with no powers.
Further allegations are that senior police officials are not allowed to release any vehicles without consulting Ass Comm Nyazema.
There are rumours that associations, Ghaco and Zudac, are alleged to be funding the construction of a lavish home in the affluent suburb of Gletwin for Nyazema.
In return, he(Nyazema) targets and arrests other kombi operators in routes that Ghaco and Zudac are interested as compensation for the house.
The house, which is still under construction, is reportedly a testament to the corrupt cop’s greed and disregard for the law as his salary can’t afford any development in that suburb.
Sources within the police force have confirmed that several officers who have arrested Ghaco or had altercations with Richard Katsvairo have been transferred to other designations including Parliament.
Katsvairo who is Ghaco chairman is now interfering with police operations to the extent of demanding identification particulars on duty,embarrassing police officers in the public and commuter omnibus ranks.
This is widely seen as a form of intimidation and punishment for those officers who dare to challenge the corrupt status quo.
Victims such as police officer Dube, a bike rider, who allegedly arrested Nyazema’s girlfriend was unprocedurally transfered to Mount Pleasant.
The girlfriend was not a licenced driver.
Some Chitungwiza based operators complained that they were being forced(by Nyazema) to testify against operators named LONGAZ and Benji in exchange for their impounded vehicles to be released.
“Junior officers run away from him in fear of being transfered,” said an unidentified police officer fearing reprisal
“This raises serious questions about the integrity of the entire system,” said one Harare resident. “If honest officers are being punished for doing the right thing, then there is no hope for reform. We are living in a police state where corruption rules the day.”
The senior cop’s brazen actions have fueled speculation that he enjoys the protection of higher-ups within the police hierarchy saying that they have shares in Kombi associations.
He has been overheard boasting about his connections and implying that he is untouchable.
“He says he has the blessings of top police officers at Police General Headquarters who are also benefitting from the kombi association,” said a disgruntled operator.
The alleged corruption has sparked outrage among Harare residents who are calling for the return of ZUPCO to take over from kombis since the wars are a danger of their lives.
“We are living in fear because kombis are always chased,” said an old lady.
“This is a disgrace to our city and our police force,” said one resident. “We demand that the authorities take action against a senior officer who was chased from Bulawayo and Masvingo in similar corrupt activities.”
He is known for his tyrant behaviour and we wonder why he is being kept by other senior officers,” said a junior police officer .
Ass Comm Nyazema is not new to controversy having been embroiled in allegations of lithium smuggling while still posted in Masvingo,At the same base one officer stationed at Ngundu police was brought to book for writing a poem about Ass Comm Taonei Nyazema, likening him to human waste.
Such allegations, if proven true, negate the aspirations of the 2nd Republic regards vision 2030.
Efforts to reach police spokesperson, Ass Comm Paul Nyathi , proved fruitless as his his mobile went unanswered.