Payday in Zimbabwe

Posted: January 22, 2013 by prodigypenn in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

One contemporary example of police corruption comes all the way from Zimbabwe. Two police officers, Pearson Manwell and Kudakwahe Bere, were arrested for making a negotiation with drug dealers. A gang of drug dealers were transporting 2400 kg of mbanje (marijuana) worth 240,000 US dollars. The police officers had caught the drug dealers and then asked for 30,000 US dollars.

I think it would be best to begin dissecting the two officers from the broadest of the three typologies, the third typology. The third typology is based on levels of police deviance; the levels expand all the way from the system failure of the entire institution to corruption within the police domain. In this case the corruption is from within the police domain as it involves only the two police officers. Manwell and Bere would be classified as conventional corrupt police officers. Conventional corruption is a more serious form of corrupt practices such as the bribery used in this case.

To break this down further we can look at the first of the three typologies. According to the typology of officers, these two police officers are considered to be meat-eaters. Based on the Knapp Commission Testimony, meat-eaters are the type of people who make arrangements with criminals for personal gain. 30,000 US dollars is quite large amount money. Considering that the officers were capable of carrying out a deviant act of this magnitude it would be safe to assume that this is not the first time these officers have been involved in corrupt and deviant activities. This may be a result of a corrupt police department where these officers were told that this was the “operational code” of the department as these officers were brought to justice by forces outside of the department. This assumption cannot be confirmed without further evidence and investigation however it is one way we could attempt to understand the situation.

Based on the typology of practices, shakedowns clearly define what these corrupted police officers did. According to Barker and Roebuck, shakedowns are when a person gains from not following through on a criminal violation like an arrest. These officers were asking for 30000 US in exchange for letting the drug dealers go without penalty. The two were simply looking for a bribe in exchange for turning a blind eye. This is the most classic example of a shakedown, bribery which is such a blunt form of corruption is one of the first things that comes to mind when asked for examples of corruption. After identifying what the officers have done, the question quickly becomes why?

When considering why the police officers did what they did many people can come up with many different explanations for what took place. Aside from the obvious financial incentive why did the officers act in such a way? Sociologically speaking it could have been a number of things happening. Bere could have been in some financial trouble and due to the wages with policing he could not make ends meet which is why he purposed the bribery. Manwell could have been hesitant at the time considering that the fact that a split of 30,000 didn’t sound all that bad for letting people go just one time and when Bere took the lead he just went with what was going on. This is just one way we could look at this rather than the latter which would probably be that both officers are corrupt and evil and have always been that way and will always be that way regardless of the circumstances.


  1. duck19 says:

    Great choice of an article, this can be discussed when “solidarity,” is looked at in accordance of Police Deviance.

  2. Mike Larsen says:

    Good post!

    First, you have done a good job of unpacking some of the specialized concepts associated with the literature. I would advise you to keep this up, and to keep the public reader in mind when preparing future posts.

    Based on the information provided in the article you reference, I would concur with your first assessment – that this case represents corruption originating within the police domain.

    You are also correct to associate this case with the practice of ‘meat eating’, as the officers appear to have demonstrated initiative in their selection of target. This definitely looks like a shakedown.

    I am particularly happy to see that you have offered a few possible explanations of the practices in question that emphasize social organization and context.

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