Spikes: New traffic policing weapon

AMIDST the noise in the capital, Harare you hear loud whistles from conductors; drivers and touts warning each other of the impending danger as traffic police officers carrying iron spikes give chase to errand kombis in a bid to deflate their tyres.

This cat and mouse game has, however, cost pedestrians their lives and put commuters’ lives at risk.
The police have, however, blamed kombi drivers for defying orders to stop, hence creating scenes that put people’s lives at risk.

Interestingly, there has not been any clear policy position from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on the use of these iron spikes.

Asked to comment on the iron spikes, ZRP national spokesperson Charity Charamba said she would only give a concrete comment after finding out the correct position on the use of this new weaponry — the spikes.

And the police have been caught off side on several cases in which they take the law into their own hands.
Just last week, the court ordered a traffic police officer and his superiors to fork out about $5 000 as compensation to a motorist after the officer wrecked his vehicle.

According to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Titus Matava who is a police constable based at Rusape Police Station in Manicaland Province, impounded a Nissan Bluebird Sylphy vehicle belonging to Simba Chikaka on November 1, 2015 after he had stopped him at a road block mounted between Rusape and Nyazura in Manicaland Province.

“Matava grabbed Chikaka’s vehicle keys after the motorist failed to pay a $20 spot fine as penalty for allegedly committing a traffic offence of not being in possession of temporary vehicle registration plates for his car, which he had recently imported from Japan, as he had no money on hand,” ZLHR said.

The officer, however, used Chikaka’s vehicle to chase another car which had not stopped at the roadblock but got involved in an accident as a result.

The police were again taken to court last year as a businessman; Tendai Mangwiro sought to recover his money that had been seized by the police as evidence.

After his acquittal, Mangwiro failed to get his money back prompting him to approach the court to force Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo to release the $1,5 million to him.

The case is still on-going as the money is nowhere to be found, with people querying police conduct and failure to release the money.

Again, three police officers were last year brought before the courts for killing a kombi driver after he had resisted arrest at a roadblock along the Marondera-Murewa Road.

They were charged with culpable homicide.

This week, a Norton court heard of how traffic police manhandled and injured a kombi driver they were cuffing for overloading his vehicle. — Bridget Mananavire

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