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The Forum Petitions Police Boss, Godwin Matanga, Over The Use Of Spikes By Traffic Cops

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (The Forum) has demanded that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) stop the use of spikes after they caused a kombi accident that claimed four lives in Mutare two days ago.

The Forum wrote to the ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga requesting him to issue a public statement condemning the use of spikes.

The ZRP routinely uses metal spikes to stop vehicles believed to be breaking road regulations but the practice has been blamed for causing numerous road accidents across the country. Wrote the Forum:

We are appalled by this routine in cases like these, where ZRP assures the public that investigations will be made, but the outcome of these investigations is kept away from the public, who will remain oblivious to whether the responsible officers were made to account for their actions.

We cannot overemphasise that the use of spikes amounts to excessive use of force and violates the right to personal security as provided for in section 52 of the constitution.

The ZRP is called upon to set an example of measured, rational, reasonable and proportionate responses to anti-social conduct and should never be seen to condone, let alone promote, excessive violence against transgressors.

Human life is inestimable, and it is a value that the police must uphold by example.

In July last year, High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu ruled that banning the use of spikes by traffic police to stop vehicles refusing to obey orders to halt would be as good as legalising crime and disempowering police from maintaining law and order.

The ruling followed an application by the Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ), who were seeking an interdict prohibiting officers from using the strips of spikes and smashing windscreens of private taxis to halt pirate taxis and kombis.

PAZ argued that the conduct by the police endangered the lives of the public and cause blatant unlawful and malicious damage to private property that police are supposed to protect.

Through its legal counsel, PAZ argued that police should be barred from practising this “rudimentary” and “barbaric” way of enforcing traffic offence law.

However, the court accepted the police argument that operators of pirate taxis were not just committing traffic offences only but other crimes that could be classified as more dangerous.

The police said some of the crimes committed by Mushikashika crews include drug abuse, harassment of commuters especially women, and theft and robberies.

Some of the vehicles used as pirate taxis are unregistered and mostly driven by immature and unlicensed drivers, police argued.

The ZRP also argued that the conduct of the pirate taxis had resulted in a spike of pedestrian deaths as they are run over by vehicles fleeing police officers.

The police further argued that touts employed by errant drivers, assault and kill police officers when they try to impound their vehicles and arrest the violators.

It was on this basis that Justice Tagu refused to grant the application by PAZ. He said:

To grant the application would be tantamount to legalising the actions of these errant motorists as the police would be incapacitated to deal with them.

More: NewZimbabwe.com

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One Comment on “The Forum Petitions Police Boss, Godwin Matanga, Over The Use Of Spikes By Traffic Cops

  1. “In July last year, High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu ruled that banning the use of spikes by traffic police to stop vehicles refusing to obey orders to halt would be as good as legalising crime and disempowering police from maintaining law and order.”
    The Magistrate was spot on; if the kombi crews are faithful and or legit, why would they simply fail to stop at police check points? We cannot turn ZImbabwe into a lawless country by promoting unlawful conduct of these misguided and unruly kombi crews

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