For Sale signs hanging outside offices at Harare Central Police Station stand out more than the stench coming from the dimly lit underground hallways.
Struggling police officers are now selling sadza and clothes to make extra cash. Alongside maintaining law and order in the capital city, some junior police officers sell phone recharge cards and sadza served with beef inside their offices to supplement income. “It is normal, that’s how you earn extra money.
Everyone wants to eat and make a call,” said a police constable who could not be named because she is not authorised to speak to the press.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she was not aware of the practice, which is against police regulations. Outside the main station, police charge traders at Harare’s busiest flea markets a daily rate of $5 to sell clothes — mostly secondhand and imported from Mozambique, where they are donated by Western charities.
In July, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa banned imports of used clothes. They are now smuggled instead across the long, poorly policed border.
Official data shows that just 800 000 people, in a population of 13 million, paid tax in 2014. The 530 000 government workers account for more than half of these, while mining jobs have stuck at 45 000 since 1999.