An encounter with Officer X



Following our review of the reprehensible Subscriber Registration law (Statutory Instrument 142 of 2013) we clairvoyantly predicted that one of the unfortunate effects of this law would be that Network operators would now require you to furnish them with a police report before they issue you with a replacement SIM card. Sadly this has turned out to be true.

Almost a month ago someone decided to steal my Nokia 1208 phone or maybe I dropped it- I don’t know. I decided to buy a new phablet online and see what the fuss was all about. I had to wait for a month for it to arrive and had to make do with VoIP in the meantime. ( Seriously some of these VoIP services are overrated especially if you try to make international calls.) The trouble started when I visited Econet to get a SIM replacement and I was told I needed a police report.


I figured I would just visit my nearest police station, make a report and somehow cajole them to issue me with a stamped piece of paper saying I had lost my phone blah blah all in a day’s work and be done with it. In retrospect that sounds all so naive.

On my arrival at the Police station I couldn’t help but notice how modern the reception and adjacent offices looked. All the desks had relatively new computers on top of them and some of them were actually running Windows 7! A state of the art laser printer was humming as it dutifully spewed out colour print outs of Facebook jokes which one of the lady officers was carefully sticking onto the notice board. After being told that they were busy I quietly waited as they chatted on about their poultry and agriculture endeavours and what nots.

After being ignored for what seemed like ages I was asked to state my business and I quickly recounted my predicament. It turned out none of the present officers could help me because a police report would require the Officer in charge to stamp it. Officer X-the officer in charge was not present at the station and only Officer X was allowed to use this stamp! I was told to come back the next at 8 am morning. On the following day Officer X was not available either he had gone to attend to some urgent police business. So busy was Officer X that I could not find him at that police station for the next three days. Then ,on the advice of a friend, on the fourth day after being told Officer X was unavailable I decided to offer a donation to the present officers in return for an  “expedited police report.”

I had hardly finished making this offer when the report was speedily made and handed to me stamped and all. Imagine my surprise upon learning “joke-sticking-lady” was actually Officer X. Fuming with rage and police report in hand I visited Econet. As I waited for my turn to be served and started trading stories with the other people in the line I learnt something else however, behind every police report was a story almost as bad as mine and sometimes worse.

Only in Zimbabwe are stories like these just shrugged off.I wonder how we got there? “If you are not happy with their service then you report them to the police.” One of the people quipped suggesting I should report Officer X to Officer X for misconduct. I imagine another meeting with Officer X and suddenly I am good and thankful for the service I received. After all it could be worse right? ( Cue you are supposed to shrug and agree with me.)

Picture via Flickr

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28 thoughts on “An encounter with Officer X

  1. So u actually confess to offering a bribe? Are you for real?

    Other than that strange self-entrapment and admission, I wouldn’t have waited that long as there are many police stations including those “mobile” ones like the one at Harare Gardens. Roadport. And Harare Central too. No stress there.

    1. Bribe? Now that would be against the law! I did not pay any bribe at all as you can tell from reading the article. Who knows maybe the whole thing is just a fable or it could be true.

      1. Good move. I believe this bit should also be deleted.

        …on the fourth day after being told Officer X was unavailable I decided to offer a donation to the present officers in return for an “expedited police report.”…

  2. I completely disagree with this. I have just recently replaced a sim card no problems. The only time i needed a police report was to track my stolen device as Econet has the ability to see what sim card has been put in a device if you supply the imei number. I am going to double check this. Anyway that said, go to your network, request a nano sim… get the nano sim and then request a microsim. No mess no fuss no report.

  3. Just even more on the issue… I would take this up with EWZ management. Or raise your concern on facebook via inbox message to Econet Zim FB page and ask them what the whole fuss is about.

  4. ….dutifully spewed out colour print outs of Facebook jokes which one of the lady officers was carefully sticking onto the notice board… hahahaha

  5. What’s disappointing is that you don’t NAME the officer who’s doing this. Until we actually have the balls to name and shame these people, we will have achieved nothing at all in this country. So actually, this nonsense story of yours has achieved nothing, because to actually make a difference, you have to name the person. So that SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT! Otherwise, what’s the point? Tsk

    1. I agree, this kind of article holds no more value than the bitching about the issue in the Econet queue. It’s nice for the author to have a platform to vent on but this is of no value to us readers.

      1. I take it has been a while since you have been to the police station. I just wanted people to know that they are not alone.

  6. Maybe a narrative of the hassles encountered in acquiring the phablet would also interest some of us.. Give us more details some of us might also need to acquire one online as well.

    1. Have been to the police station recently my friend. If dont believe this then you should know that while I was waiting the officers in the next room were torturing a suspect despite what the law says. This was surreal but real. If it was some nightmare I would imagine I would have woken up by now.

  7. I think this is a good article Garikai, the people who are complaining that you paid a bribe or who are saying this is a useless article are quite misguided. I actually think some of em’ (like Black there!) is a lil’ bit on the cynical side… I mean what has done in such a situation? Nothing… yes nothing all these guys are good at is to come to this forum and make lotsa noise without em’ actually adding any value/solutions.

    1. you do realise that you are also part of the noise and you are actually not adding any value/solutions? (just as i am doing now)

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