The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has loosened its lean purse to import a fleet of four-wheel vehicles as citizens’ anger with President Robert Mugabe’s government swells.
Civil protests have kept the police busy in the last two months as the law enforcement unit fought to suppress demonstrations against corruption, bad leadership, unpopular policies and human rights abuses.
Police have been rapped by western embassies, opposition parties and human rights defenders for using excessive force to suppress the protests, which it recently banned only for the courts to reverse it.
Fresh independent media reports indicate that ZRP recently imported, through the Beitbridge border post, the off-roaders that were ferried to Harare under heavy police guard
The reports say the cars were bought through a local car dealer, Duly’s and are of British origin even though they were assembled in South Africa.
The vehicles had already been painted in police colours when they were imported and range between $28,000 and $46,000.
The cars were reportedly cleared through a special release order handled by the President’s Department which houses the Central Intelligence Organisation.
Mugabe has spoken strongly against protesters and rapped the judiciary for allowing demonstrations to proceed.
The 2016 Ford Focus cars are said to have been delivered to the Duly’s depot in Harare and are equipped with Bluetooth, with a top speed of 266 kiolmetres per hour and a takeoff speed of 100 km in less than five seconds.
The cars were brought in as Finance and Economic Development minister, Patrick Chinamasa, called for belt tightening as revenue inflows dwindle