13 April 2017
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has, for the past few weeks,
been telling all and sundry that they will reduce roadblocks on the
country’s roads and highways and that the law did not permit their members
to throw spikes at moving vehicles.
However, nothing has changed. In fact, the roadblocks have multiplied and
the spike-wielding cops have become even more menacing in most of the
country’s towns and cities.
This is despite serious concerns raised by various stakeholders in the
economy – including politicians, tourism players, citizens and corporates
– about the negative effects the numerous roadblocks are having on the
We hope our police force will learn from other countries like Tanzania and
Kenya that have already reduced the number of police roadblocks after
realising their negative consequences on tourism and the
It has to be noted that we do not condone lawlessness, but there is need
for action to protect both foreign and local tourists from harassment of
any form, both on our roads and at the country’s entry and exit points.
But the standard of policing now common on our roads, which is now
characterised by armies of uniformed police officers armed with iron
spikes, leaves a lot to be desired.
We strongly agree that the use of spikes by police to enforce compliance
has no space in a civilised society, as there are other modern and
effective methods of traffic control and management.
As such, government must invoke the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act Chapter IV, Section 38 to charge police officers who throw spikes at
moving vehicles, who face up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to
This will not only save lives by deterring the rogue cops from taking the
law into their own hands but will also preserve the sanctity of our
The use of spikes violates both the Constitution and Section 38 of
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act).
At times people even wonder whether the police stations dotted around the
country still have manpower to deal with other issues citizens may want
assistance with, when you look at the numbers of cops that are on the
There are many other crimes that need attention around the country, over
and above what happens on the roads, that require swift responses from
members of the force.
We hope both the ministers responsible for the police and its command
structure will act to ensure there is uniformity between policy
pronouncements and what happens on the ground.