Are Zim Road Blocks Legal?

Are Zim Road Blocks Legal?
Published: 2016 May 17 06:13:14 (6437 Views)
REPORTS that policemen continue to be nabbed for mounting fake roadblocks clearly indicate something wrong in the law establishment system of the country.

That a whole country, with a functional legal system, can have episodes where people mount roadblocks as and when they see fit shows an apparent absence of systems. And, as they say, in the absence of systems everything goes. Lawlessness of this kind cannot be allowed to continue unchecked. Can someone really explain what it is that constitutes a roadblock in Zimbabwe?

A month ago, in Kuwadzana Extension, two cops were arrested for mounting an illegal roadblock and extorting money from unsuspecting motorists along the Harare-Bulawayo Road. The pair, it was reported, was using a counterfeit fines book. The offence only came to light after they arrested a traffic “offender” who demanded to be taken to the nearest police station. After trying to flee and having been apprehended, it was reported that the alleged cops were found in possession of substantial amounts of money. Indeed, someone is not doing their job; the public needs this critical information.

It is sad that Zimbabweans are people who have not really developed a culture of questioning and demanding. The very few who dare to stand up are viewed as unique and awkward. Oftentimes, everyone would stand aloof or comply without a word. Why have we not stood up to demand from the authorities to explain to us how we can identify a real roadblock?
Fake roadblock offences are increasingly becoming common. This is an area that should have long attracted correction or public campaigns at the very least. Motorists have been left exposed to thieves and surely someone should be culpable.

Too often motorists have been quick to pay the spot fines for the various “offences” on the road. We have not even had the courage to ask the officers manning some of the roadblocks to identify themselves. We have sheepishly obliged and parted with our hard-earned money without question.

Zimbabweans have often been accused of being docile. Stories of mockery abound of how Zimbabweans will opt for peace even if it comes to their own detriment. It has often been said that Zimbabweans would survive even if placed in a desert.

They can go to any length to avoid confrontation. This is not to advocate for confrontation with law enforcers, but to demand to understand between what is genuine and fake. Amidst the massive corruption and vice in the country, it would appear we are quick to add our voice to virtually everything, largely on social networks, yet no one really would take it upon themselves to right wrongs. The citizenry in other states is known for demanding their rights; they demand adherence to constitutional provisions.

They will take their governments to task over issues that directly affect them, but not so in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are compliant to a dangerous level; a level so dangerous that it puts their very welfare at risk. This area of numerous roadblocks in and around Harare calls for closer scrutiny. One is likely to encounter more than six roadblocks on a simple 28-kilometre stretch from Harare to Chitungwiza.

Even worse, a simple 12km stretch to Msasa Park can have as many as five roadblocks, which translates to a roadblock for every one-and-a-half kilometres.

While there should be nothing to fret about concerning roadblocks, it has become increasingly important for the powers-that-be to help the public to make a distinction between true roadblocks and fake ones. There are a number of bodies that preside over traffic affairs and it is astounding that the public has no basic information on roadblocks.

This is so given that roadblocks have become points where thousands of dollars exchange hands; roadblocks have become cash cows netting millions of dollars in any given week. It is sad that despite the heavy police presence, this has not shown in reduced road carnage, but I digress.

This information (on roadblocks) should, in my view, lead to national campaigns. Someone has a duty to inform the abused public. The case of the Kuwadzana Extension policemen is just a drop in the ocean. A lot of fake roadblocks are mounted in the country and as long as the citizenry does not demand its rights, they will continue being extorted and corrupt policemen will not leave the roads.

This is also a call on the numerous traffic authorities to avail this critical information to members of the public. We cannot continue to have a situation where traffic officers become a law unto themselves. We cannot allow a scenario where the public cannot distinguish between a roadblock that is fake and one that is genuine. It would be a good thing if traffic officers can be identified by the public.

To conclude, it is the motorist who is bearing the brunt of the corrupt behaviour on the roads. It is the citizen being abused and the sooner the government moves in to shield the vulnerable citizen through spirited campaigns, the better.

Learnmore Zuze writes in his own capacity. Email:

- Online
Tags: roadblock, police, ZRP, fake,

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