Zim doctors’ plea on roadblocks – as hotel promises to pay guests’ fines

Source: Zim doctors’ plea on roadblocks – as hotel promises to pay guests’ fines – News24 2016-07-18

Harare – Imagine this: you or a family member is seriously ill in Zimbabwe and you call the doctor. But he or she is held up by a police roadblock.

The unthinkable potential consequences of such a situation (and it happens, doctors say) are what have driven a leading association of medical practitioners in Zimbabwe to plead with the authorities to let doctors go quickly through the roadblocks on their way to emergencies – and only return later with the cash to pay a fine.

The Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) says in a letter to the head of the traffic police: “Some of our members have advised us that they sometimes fail to attend to emergencies at hospitals or their practices in time due to delays at police roadblocks in and around our various towns.”

The association complains that police at the checkpoints sometimes detain the doctors or impound their vehicles because they haven’t got the ready cash to pay a fine on the spot. Though lawyers say officers should allow you to pay up at a police station later, particularly given Zimbabwe’s current cash crunch, that rarely happens in practice.

Drivers are harassed by traffic officers who demand cash on the spot. The presence of these roadblocks – and the myriad tiny (and ever changing) infractions drivers can be made to pay for – are one of the things that has angered supporters of the #ThisFlag online protest movement, which staged two shutdowns this month. (Only one of them was successful).

Peaceful protests 

The medical association appealed to the police for a “special dispensation” to be given to doctors to allow them to proceed and pay fines for any offences later at police stations when they have attended to their patients.

President Robert Mugabe’s government appears to be unwilling to back down on the roadblock issue, with many Zimbabweans suspecting it is used as a fundraising initiative.

Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo told the privately-owned Standard on Sunday that police were manning what he called security roadblocks “to ensure that those planning to carry out further acts of violence are detected”. The authorities insist that #ThisFlag supporters and founders are violent, although the movement has called for only peaceful protests like shutdowns.

The checkpoints put off tourists and self-drive visitors.

In a move to counter this, a leading hotel in Zimbabwe’s eastern Vumba region has promised to reimburse the fines guests incur on their way to stay with them.

Leopard Rock Hotel said this weekend that it had been “losing business because of ZRP [Zimbabwe Republic Police] stopping people and fining them arbitrarily on their way to Leopard Rock”.

“If you get a ticket on your way to Leopard Rock (not last week’s ticket), give us your receipt and we will credit your stay,” the hotel added. With its vivid pink turrets and well-known golf course, Leopard Rock is one of the mountainous Vumba region’s best-known resorts. It is about 300 km from Harare.


  • comment-avatar
    R Judd 6 years ago

    Hey give us all a “special dispensation”. We deserve it. The piggies can all go back to doing real police work the way they are supposed to.

  • comment-avatar
    Cass Jackson 6 years ago

    A sign of desperate times. Government killed the geese that laid the golden eggs and want to compensate for that by collecting bribes from motorists.
    Since when does a government use police as revenue collectors, or are they just diverting attention from the criminals at to top to the ordinary citizens.
    Idiot Chombo should realize those roadblocks existed before the present unrest.

  • comment-avatar
    Joe Cool 6 years ago

    Exactly – we don’t want the road blocks stopped – we just want an exemption as doctors. Same as we want exemption from paying duty on importing vehicles and groceries, etc. We are special – we are Zimbabwean assholes, and our rallying cry is “SELFISHNESS”!

  • comment-avatar
    IAN SMITH 6 years ago

    As the cash dries up the Gestapo check points will increase to the point where motorist will see the next check point as they leave each check point, what a sad case of extortion.
    “A drowning man will clutch at a straw”

  • comment-avatar
    Shumba 6 years ago

    These roadblocks are an elaborate extortion racket by the authorities to raise revenue. They have nothing to do with road safety or national security.
    People should reject them in their entirety. Its wrong for one group to say they should be treated differently or be exempted. All citizens should roundly condemn and reject them.

  • comment-avatar
    Barry 6 years ago

    The forces of law and order are now the farces of law and order. The “police” doing roadblocks are nothing but uniformed street kids with attitudes, they aren’t police. So trying to negotiate with thus circus is pointless because the clowns are in charge.

  • comment-avatar

    As much as you, the Doctors, probably hate the ZRP Traffic Police (as well as the ordinary ZRP), you know they are there everyday, so why don’t you doctors get your car “in order” so that you have no reason to pay a spot fine/bribe. I believe you can get a copy of the Schedules of Fines – so carry that in your car in case the cops try a fast one on you. You charge exhorbitant fees for consultations, so just fix your car up and stop whingeing.

  • comment-avatar
    C Moyo 6 years ago

    The number of road blocks consumes 90 percent of ZRP workforce .Who does all the other ZRP functions?

    • comment-avatar
      Joe Cool 6 years ago

      No-one, so on’t waste your time trying to report a crime. Took two weeks to get fingerprints taken for a liquor licence application, and another week to find someone to take the money and issue a receipt.

      But, if you want to buy a Coke or a plate of sadza and relish, the local charge office is a good place to do it around lunchtime.