AUGUSTINE-CHIHURI
Dear Dr Augustine Chihuri,

Hearty greetings from village elders in the land of milk, honey and dust; or Guruve. I should not go far before I pass on greetings from village elders with cotton tuft hair. They wish you well.

It is fact, not fiction, that this is the first time this villager has written to you and surely you should be wondering what brings Guruve to Police General Headquarters.

As village elders aptly put it, an owl does not fly during the day for nothing; when you see it flapping its wings, certainly something is after its life.

Suffice to say, dearest Commissioner-General, it takes a lot of courage for a mere villager like me to climb a high massif.

In October last year, you presented a sermon at the Gwanda Gospel Extravaganza, where I learnt that you are a humble and devout Christian – eloquent, charismatic with a rare depth of character.

I stay in a village a spitting distance from Guruve Police Station, and that should make my life easy and safe.

But I am having to beg police to arrest someone who broke into my house and stole property on February 7 2017.

I reported the matter two days later after my neighbours confessed seeing the culprit steal from my house. The witnesses are still alive and willing to testify. The suspect, who is known to everyone in the village, is still alive, but has never been brought to book.

He is walking scot-free.

Well, if this happens to me who has this platform to let you know, how about other villagers of lesser social standing?

The first police detail to attend the scene refused to arrest the culprit on a Friday, his logic being that the suspect would stay in police cells for more than the stipulated 48 hours.

He saw the suspect, a fellow villager, and left him to go. Meanwhile, the village was agog with the story that I had reported the theft and that the suspect was known. Nothing happened except giving the culprit time to hide his loot and destroy evidence.

After the weekend, the arrest did not occur and the suspect, who got wind of it, disappeared for a while. When I pursued the matter through my brother – who was the complainant on my behalf – we were told that the investigating officer had gone on leave and that we would get a new investigating officer.

The new IO, as they called him, has not been of much help. Nothing has been done.

It cannot be an issue of resources. To a villager like me, it can only be lack of professionalism. Should I take the law into my own hands? Does it make sense anymore for any villager to report to police any theft of property? Do I have to pay police to do their job?

I am beginning to think that if I was corrupt and paid them, they would have done the job.

My poor mind grapples with the horror of this happening to many other villagers across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe.

Commissioner-General, it is sad that the charisma, depth of character and vision you have for a good and well-policed Zimbabwe might not be shared by your officers at Guruve Police Station. The gap between what I saw in you and the operations at Guruve Police is wider than the Pacific.

But my story is trivial when compared to the next anecdote.

In my village there is non-functioning Eureka Gold Mine and here things have fallen apart. Syndicates of gold panners, including my kith and kin, have literally camped at the mine.

No-one, except me and the elderly, is sleeping home. During the day and at night, the village is empty. Everyone is panning.

They tell us they pay US$2 to enter the mine and get ore from heap leaching.

According to the villagers, a dollar is for mine guards and another dollar is a toll fee for the police. They also tell us the best buyers of gold are from the Criminal Investigations Department, from across the various police stations in Mashonaland Central.

What makes this villager believe his fellow villagers is that no one has yet been arrested for prosecution in the past year or so over this. Those who are arrested are quickly released. At least that’s the case in my village.

Dear Commissioner-General, can a diligent and committed police force surely raid the mine on a daily basis but arrest no one? Not a single person?

Village autochthons now feel that expecting police at Guruve to arrest the gold panners is akin to expecting honey from a fly. It will not happen.

Elders don’t like what is happening at the mine and they are very disappointed by the police force at Guruve.

Since you are a busy person, I will not waste your time going further. Your good office has all the tools and depth to investigate the rot.

I stay in the village and I have decided to say enough is enough. Police in Guruve should start behaving like police.

Yours sincerely,

The Villager,

Isdore Guvamombe.