Zimbabwe: What 'Crisis' in a Low Crime Zimbabwe?

18 November 2020

Despite the misleading and destructive narrative that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe, the country's crime rate has remained relatively low.

Most countries in Africa and the entire world at large, are grappling with high crime rates. Though not immune to criminal activities, Zimbabwe does not feature on the list of countries worst affected by the scourge.

A publication focusing on crime rates, Numbeo (2015), excluded Zimbabwe from countries with high crime rates.

The publication ranked five African countries that are among the 20 nations with the highest crime rates in the world. These included South Africa, South Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya and Libya.

In its other statistics on crime, Numbeo (2015) as well as De Villiers (2015) reported that there was an escalation of conflict in Africa, with 74 percent of deaths in five sub-Saharan countries being a result of conflicts on the continent.

Numbeo reported that in 2014, Libya and South Sudan joined the category of the most violent countries, accounting for 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively, of violent conflict in Africa. Zimbabwe again did not feature on this list. However, despite these facts, merchants of anarchy label the country as being in a crisis situation, something which boggles the mind.

Gunshots and gun sounds are a routine phenomenon for countries in crisis. This is not the case with Zimbabwe.

In some African and Western countries, the number of people killed by firearms on a daily is astonishingly high.

According to the World Economic Forum, half of all firearms-related deaths that took place in the world in 2016, occurred in just six countries, all in the Americas. Brazil had the largest gun-related deaths with over 43 000 people killed that year. The US was next with 37 200, followed by Mexico 15 400, Colombia 13 221, Venezuela 12 800 and Guatemala 5 090. The prime drivers of the "crisis in Zimbabwe" narrative have either ignored these facts or have never bothered to check, which exposes their hypocrisy and premeditated destructive agenda.

In September 2020, the Washington Post reported that at least 313 people were shot in the United States every day. According to Quora.com, the average number of people murdered each day in the US is 46. Such shocking statistics are never highlighted by those who seek to portray Zimbabwe as the devil's refuge. The omission is deliberate and malicious. In some countries, broad day carjackings, robberies and cash in transit heists have become the order of the day. This is in sharp contrast to Zimbabwe, where only a single case of cash in transit heist has been reported this year, a sign that the country's crime levels are very low, as opposed to what the country's detractors preach. There is definitely no crisis in Zimbabwe.

The country has actually recorded a decline in criminal activities in 2020. According to Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) National Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, during the first months of the year, statistics indicate that the police recorded 27 murder cases between 30 March and 15 April 2020, while 46 cases were reported during the same period last year.

Sixty-five plain robberies were reported countrywide in the 17 days, a lesser figure compared to the 150 cases recorded by the police in 2019. Two cases of theft of motor vehicles were recorded in the first 17 days of the Covid-19 lockdown period, while five cases were recorded during the same period last year. Statistics show that one carjacking case was recorded this year, while five cases were reported during the same period last year.

While the recorded cases are a cause for concern, they are just a drop in the ocean when compared to other countries.

A country with a low crime rate attracts international visitors. For instance, international celebrities such as Hollywood star, Will Smith, and musicians, Sean Paul and Akon have visited Zimbabwe.

Such individuals cannot visit countries engulfed in criminal activities.

In fact, countries such as the US and the UK occasionally issue travel warnings to their citizens wishing to travel to countries with safety issues. Apart from a politically and maliciously-motivated travel warning issued by the US on August 6, 2020, following the failure of a regime change protest set for July 31, 2020, Zimbabwe has not been under any travel warning.

Instead, a US-based travel and tourism agency, Tourlane, recently named Zimbabwe the safest place to visit in the world when countries reopen their borders for international travel post-Covid-19 restrictions.

Surely, a country with high crime rate or in crisis cannot be recommended as a safe place for tourists, more so by a Western travel agency.

No rocket scientist is required to confirm that the country is enjoying peace and stability. Crime reports are sporadic and the security forces are quick to deal with any reported cases. Crimes such as muggings, carjacking and terrorism, which are frequently reported in other countries, are very low in Zimbabwe. Even where they occur, the police account for the criminals within days.

The vigilance and effectiveness of the police in keeping crime rates in the country low as compared to other countries is there for all to see. The fact that Zimbabwe is a very low crime country was buttressed by the US Department of State last year. The Department attested that Zimbabwe was a low threat location for crimes emanating from terrorist activities.

The US Department of State further said there were no terrorist groups claiming a presence or an incident in Zimbabwe, unlike the situation in other African countries.

Those who push the crisis narrative should for once remove their blinkers and see the stability in the country.

If Zimbabwe was in a crisis, what then would one say about the US, where black people are killed in broad daylight?

Pardon Muzavazi is a housing development expert based in Namibia.

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