'10km roadblocks will fuel corruption'

HARARE - The Tourism and Hospitality industry yesterday led a large cross-section of Zimbabweans in condemning a government directive that empowers police to mount one roadblock within a 10 kilometers radius, arguing that the ill-advised decision would fuel corruption on the country’s roads.

Curiously, police has actually increased roadblocks within the 10km zones — a move which road users and ordinary Zimbabweans say flies in the face of calls by lawmakers and tourism players to minimise roadblocks — which they blame for driving away tourists and wasting productive hours.

Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo recently said police had been instructed to de-congest roadblocks through a directive which allowed one roadblock within a 10km radius to promote ease of doing business.

But players in the tourism sector, motorists and analysts told the Daily News yesterday that the new directive did not address their concerns and instead would fuel corruption.

“As the hospitality industry, we still feel the initial solution cannot resolve the difficulties faced by tourists on the road taking into consideration that a journey to Bulawayo of 440km you will have 44 road blocks.

“Today (yesterday), I was travelling to Mutare I was shocked that in Marondera town ZRP mounted five road blocks and these were within the 10km mark.

“ZRP should also take instructions from the minister so that we become hospitable in our roads. The police should also be taught customer care so that they don’t harass people on the roads,” said Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe president George Manyumwa.

A recent survey conducted by Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) revealed that nearly

10 000 tourists rated police services as “very poor” with half of them vowing never to visit the country again after enduring endless harassment at many roadblocks.

“All provincial commanders have been instructed to submit their monthly roadblock schedules to Police General Headquarters (Operations) to ensure effective monitoring of deployments in line with the organisational policy of erecting roadblocks at a distance of not less than 10km apart,” Chombo announced recently.

“One-stop-shop roadblocks, which are multi-purpose, are being implemented to avoid duplications. Increased supervision of deployed personnel is going to be enhanced to correct any inconsistencies with policies and directives.

However, this has not gone down well with motorists who have launched a campaign against the police ahead of filing a Class action at the Constitutional Court.

“Whilst police are entitled to road blocks to maintain law and order in terms of section 68 of the Constitution, their actions have to be reasonable, proportionate and fair,” former Cabinet minister and Road Users Association (RUA) lawyer, David Coltart told the Daily News.

“Setting up a roadblock in every 10km radius is not reasonable or proportional to maintaining law and order. In fact the numerous road blocks are a direct violation of section 66 which says every Zimbabwean and anyone living in Zimbabwe has a right to move freely in Zimbabwe.”

RUA is intensifying its fight against police to the extent that it has asked people to submit affidavits sharing their experiences at roadblocks.

The public outcry comes as stone-broke government has increased traffic spot fines by nearly 100 percent, in a controversial move it claims will reduce road accidents.

Comments (1)

More roadblocks = less crime and bad driving

nelson - 8 April 2017

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