HARARE - Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) has slammed government for increasing traffic fines to as much as $100, saying the move will only fuel corruption among traffic police officers.
In a statement, the anti-corruption body said the recently passed law which saw traffic fines increased from between $10 and $20 to $100 in a country whose unemployment
rate hovers above 80 percent would not help matters in the fight against graft.
“In a country where unemployment is at a record high of 80 percent, such a decision reflects that neither Parliament nor the police have done their homework.
“In the alternative, if they have done their homework, the decision reflects high level of insensitivity to the plight of citizens for it is unrealistic to introduce such fines in an environment of poverty as it encourages lawlessness of both citizens and law enforcement agents
“It appears that being fully aware that the motoring public is barely able to pay a $10 and $20 fine the police are hedging their bets that with a higher fine of $100, defaulting motorists will be willing to raise their bribes maybe to a half of that, making the police an accessory and if not the solicitors,” read part of the statement.
TIZ further accused police manning roadblocks of behaving as if they were the oasis of knowledge when it comes to traffic regulations as they are in the habit of refusing to listen to explanations by drivers whom they will have charged of an offence.
It further expressed concern that authorities were the first road offenders as they have not taken time to consider the bad state in which the country’s roads are in which hinders drivers from observing some of the rules.
“There is also foliage and trees covering road signs such as stop signs and give-way signs that are supposed to be in plain view to the motorist that municipalities should be regulating.
“Topping this is the alleged corruption at VID (Vehicle Inspection Department) that issues licences to motorists who are not competent to be on the roads or allowing road unfit vehicles to be on the road.”
TIZ further said it was saddened by the fact that anecdotal evidence shows that traffic police corruption is petty in the lower levels “but forms a pyramid that involves high-ranking police officials as payments go up the ladder, turning into a grand corruption scam”.