Bridget Mananavire and Farayi Machamire 13 May 2017
HARARE – Traffic cops manning rob blocks are free to urinate in public as
there is no law to prohibiting the practice, Home Affairs deputy minister
Obedingwa Mguni told the National Assembly on Thursday.
Responding to a question from Matabeleland South MDC senator Sithembile
Mlotshwa on what government was doing to enforce the law against police
urinating in the public, Mguni said they would only implement the Act
after it has been availed to them.
“According to the Constitution, police are bringing peace, investigating
crime, preventing crimes and they are also doing it on behalf of every
ministry that is in Zimbabwe.
“So, if there is an Act that is being provided by the ministry heading the
environment, saying no one should urinate behind a tree, police will
enforce that one,” he said.
“That is the duty and we do not enforce anything which is not lawful and
where we do, not have an Act to act upon it, we will act only when there
is an Act that has been passed and is given to us to make the people act
“Therefore, if urinating behind the tree is now illegal, the police will
be informed by the Environment minister.”
This is despite the fact that police arrests people who urinate in public.
Recently, some cops were assaulted by a man – whom they were trying to
arrest for public urination in Gwanda.
Martin Dube was later charged with two counts of public urinating.
Mlotshwa argued that it was illegal under the Environmental Management Act
to urinate in the open, as the police would be polluting the environment.
“I want to know what the government policy is because your department is
the one that deals with apprehending the wrong doers to maintain law and
“How do they manage to apprehend the air polluters since we see your
officers at the roadblocks urinating and defecating in the open and
affecting people by the nature’s smell? How do they apprehend the public?”
“There is the Environmental Management Act and I think it provides that
all the waste be put in a toilet. So, if the police do not know that by
now, we are in danger because we are going to be infected.”
On the other hand, Mguni admitted that the heavy presence of police on the
country’s roads had not curbed lawlessness.
“As government, we remain conscious of the traffic congestion in our urban
areas, particularly in Harare,” he told the Senate.
“We are also keeping an eye on the rowdy behaviour mainly by touts,
commuter omnibus and taxi operators, including the notorious
Mguni said Zimbabwe lacked reliable and dependable urban public transport
that has seen almost all cities flooded by private operators.
“Secondly, inadequate parking space and designated termini for our
motoring public, greatly contribute to the traffic menace in our cities,”
The rapid urbanisation and population growth, and increase in the number
of vehicles has inadvertently caused a lot of strain to existing
infrastructure such as roads, parking space and holding bays.
“I am, however, confident that senators are fully aware of the regular
police and municipal deployments in and around the cities trying to bring
sanity on our roads by reining-in errant motorists and apprehending
offenders,” Mguni said.
“The ZRP has deployed motorised, bike and foot patrols that continue to
arrest unruly motorists almost on a daily basis. Furthermore, the ZRP,
together with other stakeholders such as the Traffic Safety Council of
Zimbabwe are continuously undertaking various strategies and putting to an
end the lawlessness caused by unscrupulous road users.”
Some of the strategies Mguni noted were campaigns against irresponsible
driving, arresting traffic offenders and clamping all vehicles parked or
loading and offloading at undesignated points.
“To this end, the ministry of Home Affairs welcomes the recent upward
review of traffic fines as this might serve as a deterrent to would-be
traffic offenders,” Mguni said, referring to the March increase in traffic
spot fines by nearly 100 percent, in a controversial move ostensibly meant
to reduce road accidents.
“…as a forward-looking government, we have other long-term plans to ease
congestion in urban areas which I am sure will be announced by relevant
Cabinet ministers at the appropriate time.
“Suffice to say that as a ministry responsible for the maintenance of law
and order, we will never allow errant motorists to break traffic rules
“We, however, continue to sincerely appeal to all road users to exercise
sobriety and restraint on all our traffic bad habits and use our roads
with dignity at all times,” he said.