PRONOUNCEMENTS by Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo to the effect that it is “illegal” for police to impound vehicles at police check-points or force citizens to pay spot fines should go a step further.
Source: Chombo must now call Chihuri, his troops to order – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 13, 2017
Comment: NewsDay Editor
Please call out the Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri. Read the riot act and restore sanity to our roads.
Zimbabwe is not a police State and the fact that Chombo described those on the roads and demanding spot fines, as well as forcibly impounding vehicles, as “miscreants” makes it even more annoying.
Which country is Chombo coming from? It’s basically the whole police force that is deployed on the roads and harassing citizens to no end.
That even tourists have fingered the police as the biggest threat to the growth of the tourism industry, makes a mockery of Chombo’s claims that there are “bad apples” within the police force.
The bad apples that Chombo talks about work under a clear command structure that stretches right from Chihuri’s office, if not the minister’s. Chombo cannot be allowed to hide behind a finger feigning ignorance.
Of course, he is never stopped and his car will never be impounded, but Zimbabweans have had enough.
Another matter that Chombo might want to address as a matter of urgency is the dangerous practice of police officers roaming the streets of our country throwing iron spikes at moving public transport vehicles, including those carrying innocent passengers, in a bid to either solicit a bribe or fine the crew.
There is no reason why 15 souls or more should be exposed to such danger just for a $20 fine. It is just not worth it and Chihuri cannot claim not to be aware of this.
The police’s traffic section, consistently identified as one of the most corrupt institutions in Zimbabwe over the past few years, has made millions out of its quasi-fiscal activities that border on illegality.
It is important to note that Chombo’s pronouncements to the media will not result in immediate changes to the way police operate on the ground.
There is need for a clear and unambiguous communication to the police top brass.
Chihuri should, in turn, be directed to issue a public command to his troops to stop whatever illegal activity is going on and follow the right channels in the exercise of their duties on the roads or elsewhere.
Zimbabweans deserve a disciplined and law-abiding police force, if citizens are to be expected to respect the laws of the country. Rogue behaviour by those expected to implement the law can only breed a rogue citizenry.
Chombo must bite the bullet and face Chihuri now rather than later or his wailings will remain a hollow show with little substance.