Police, we are still watching you

HARARE - While the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has apologised for its ill practices and transgressions of the past, the latest Christmas road traffic accidents statistics compel us to once again remind the law enforcement agency of their mandate.

The stats speak volumes about our beloved police’s conduct. According to deputy national police spokesperson Paul Nyathi road traffic accidents significantly declined during this year’s Christmas holiday.

Nine people died in eighty-nine reported road traffic accidents that happened during the holiday, 44 percent down from the 16 fatalities recorded on the same day last year.

The number of traffic accidents recorded on Christmas day also went down by 16 percent from 106 in 2016.

There was also a six percent reduction in the number of people who were injured in the 89 road traffic accidents recorded on the day, with 42 injuries being recorded compared to 45 in 2016.

Nyathi attributed the significant reduction to improved behaviour by drivers, as a result of awareness campaigns which were carried out jointly by the ZRP and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe.

But curiously, all those improved statistics come at a time the ZRP has been forced to drastically reduce its presence on the country’s roads.

During this Christmas holiday, there was literally no police on the country’s roads. This is not to say that we do not want police on the roads. No!

The point is after having enjoyed peace, safety and less hectic travel during this year’s Christmas, as there was little to almost none police presence on the roads, the nation has seen road traffic accidents significantly go down.  Road carnage has drastically dropped, amid very low to almost none police presence.

This brings up that burning question — why were so many lives lost due to road accidents, yet we had so many police roadblocks and check points on almost every road countrywide?

Before the recent military-led “Operation Restore Legacy”, which apparently shepherded the country’s power transition, police roadblocks were ubiquitous.

And despite public outcry and concerns that there was little and no meaningful benefit from the roadblocks, the law enforcers insisted and maintained the roadblocks.

But the latest statistics almost prove that all those roadblocks were irrelevant. Once again, the police’s apology was noted, but we are keenly watching you. You need to earn your keep and prove your relevance to the society.

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