Motorists feed ZRP corruption

HARARE - Why did it take the lucky find by a 10-year-old girl to finally get action into the problem of corrupt traffic police?

Two thousand dollars worth of Rands and Dollars stuffed into a bag with papers and wild fruits thrown into a pile of rubbish on the side of the road opened the can of worms we’ve been complaining about for over a decade. 

On any stretch of highway there are multiple sets of police stopping motorists at frequent intervals, sometimes as often as every 20km.

Occasionally these appear to be “official” road blocks with signs, drums or bollards which force motorists to slow down.

More often these police checks consist of two police details standing on the side of the road flagging you down. Without a speed trap, patrol car or any warning sign, these police checks are hazardous in the extreme as one officer steps out into the open highway and indicates that you must pull off the road.

These police checks are notoriously dangerous, giving motorists no time to slow down, forcing drivers to brake sharply, stop on narrow verges where there is insufficient space to pull off the road completely or on steep, eroded edges thereby blocking visibility for other drivers.

Even more dangerous are the roadblocks such as the one approaching Headlands from Macheke which is on a sharp bend less than 30m from a railway crossing. It is reckless in the extreme for traffic police to institute checks at such hazardous locations.

Then there’s the issue of the police roadblocks where only kombis are stopped. Much has been said and written about the bribes the kombi drivers have to pay daily on every route in order to proceed unhindered through countless roadblocks. Five or 10 dollars per kombi per day and the bribe money soon mounts up.

We need to question why this problem has got so bad in recent years. Is it because the salaries of the police are too low and they use bribes at roadblocks to supplement their income?

In the case of the little girl who found the hidden $2 000, it’s obvious that this problem is far bigger than traffic police supplementing their income.

Corruption at roadblocks would never have got as widespread as it is if we, the motorists, didn’t pat the bribes in the first place.

Pulled over at a roadblock recently, a friend asked to see the officer’s badge and was reprimanded for doing so, told that this was no longer a legal requirement.

Instead, the police officer produced a photocopy picture of a police highway patrol car and said this was all the identification that was needed.  

If every motorist who was stopped and harassed at road blocks called the ZRP hotlines, insisted on seeing and writing down the police officers’ badge number and simply refused to pay a bribe, this problem would have never reached the massive proportion that now exists.  

If senior officials within ZRP took off their uniforms, wore ordinary clothes and got into private vehicles and kombis they would soon see the extent of the problem of the highway patrol police.

This division has completely tarnished the image of ZRP and time is long overdue for a massive cleanup of their corruption, intimidation and harassment of motorists going about their everyday business.

Imagine, if $2 000 worth of bribes is being taken at every roadblock every day, how many potholes could be fixed and save our precious vehicles from being turned into wrecks.

Comments (11)

what the writer does not realise is the moment you ask for the police officer to identify him/herself , you end up with tramed up charges from insulting the oofice of the president to something similar and you can imagine what you go through there after. so most motorists would rather part with $5-$20 than a month in police cells. Food for thought

msongelwa - 15 January 2014

So very true, I agree 100% - this goes for the passport office, street kids, voluntary road repair workers, ZESA, City of Harare, Tel-One - without a bribe nothing is achieved and it has become the way of life in Zimbabwe... so sad! When we were growing up we used to laugh at the rate of corruption in places like Nigeria, now look at us! Yes it is us the public to blame for instead of saying no we give in to the intimidation and just part with our hard earned money.... time we stood up and tried to resurrect our country to it's former glory!

Nella - 15 January 2014

The junior officers manning those roadblocks act on instructions from their superior. From Norton up to Harare Poly robots there are 7 roadblocks almost everyday! If you try to challenge them you are given the option of going to park your car at a police station then meet the cops at the courts. Depending on the urgency of matters most times you will opt to 'pay yourself' out of the trouble. Just before Nyabira i had a terrible experience with one Constable Mulesi (Norton Police! at Nyabira!)...she accused me of doing 93km/hr whilst following a car that was doing 65km/hr! I was threatened with having the car impounded bla bla. There is a lot that you consider b4 your bribe them.

True Kepekepe - 15 January 2014

For the first time I enjoyed reading an article you have written Cathy. Its different and refreshing! It is not the usual Zanu Pf this and Zanu PF that!

godfrey gudo - 15 January 2014

How do you fight a law that they only know. There is hardly ever any publications online or in any news media publicists to advise motorists or any citizen what is the law regarding the various offences we are alleged to be breaking. There was a publication that we should under no circumstance pay a spot fine, even supplied with contact numbers but after being stopped and advising them of that publication the simply laugh and tell u to call the number knowing that their is no one that will advise you not to pay the spot fine. So i ask where is the law that oversees the police officers?

Law - 15 January 2014

These cops will always come up with something against you the moment you try to ask them questions. Imagine in Gweru, pirate taxis owned by police officers can pick and drop at the robbots in from of Chicken Inn, blocking traffic and nothing is being done whilst kombies are arrested willy nilly on trumped up charges. This is Zimbabwe for you

Mike Phiri - 15 January 2014

True Kepekepe I was also stopped in Kwekwe and told I was doing 75km/hr when I was behind a truck which I must say could have been doing 40 km/hr. The truck passed and was stopped just behind it I laughed and told them one how they could have seen me since I was hidden behind the big haulage truck, 2 their machine must not be working. he said it takes reg number which i contested and said show me , he refused and I told him i am off and I drive off.

Maita Manyuka - 16 January 2014

Can someone clarify on the carrying of fire extinguishers because Chaka police have become notorious asking for these. I carry one for my requirement but I thought the legal part was struck off.

Maita Manyuka - 16 January 2014

Lets have more court cases challenging these cops especially the traffic is because they are not challenged that they think we are fools..the courts are not for the police but for many of them fear going to court because vanenge vari wrong..saka court ndizvo chete..musatyiswe mapurisa haasi magistrate kana prosecutor.

Amos Masango - 16 January 2014

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Clean Water - 16 January 2014

@Law you are dead right. Only the police know all these offences they charge motorists for. Why are they not published and if there are changes, why is there no publication of these changes? Why has everything have to be a secret? And why are the police allowed to modify laws e.g the spot fine issue? This is what fuels corruption. Sometimes motorists just do not have a choice.

Semhalo - 16 January 2014

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