Youths fleece motorists under cops nose

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Lawlessness in Harare went a gear up yesterday as suspected Zanu PF youths mounted roadblocks, demanding $1 from motorists which they said was for repairing the citys roads.

A survey by NewsDay revealed that some of these barricades are being conducted next to official roadblocks by police, whom motorists accused of turning a blind eye to outright disregard of the law.

In Highfield and Mbare, the youths were seen creating barricades using boulders and bricks, only to remove them once a motorist pays the demanded amount.

When NewsDay visited Highfield and Mbare in the morning, it was reported that the same youths attempted to bar buses carrying cross boarder traders from South Africa but faced resistance resulting in some clashes.

The youths were a stone throw away from the nearby police station in Machipisa but nothing was done to stop them.

Several commuter omnibus drivers were forced not to use closed routes which they described as toll gates.
The drivers interviewed said they were surprised that the youths claimed to be Zanu PF but were known criminals in the area.

They are Zanu PF youths yes but I dont think they have authority from their party to do this. They demand money claiming they want to maintain roads but we know they are criminals, one driver told NewsDay.

Zanu PF was quick to distance itself from the youths.
I have been clear from the beginning up to today that I lead Zanu PF youths who are well disciplined and who abide by the laws and the constitution of the party and there are those claiming to be Zanu PF when there are not.

These are works of MDC bent on tarnishing the image of our party, said the partys youth chairman for Harare province, Jim Kunaka.

The police also expressed ignorance over the youths roadblocks.

They are not supposed to do that thats unlawful. We know of some who fill potholes then ask for well-wishers but those blocking the roads asking for money but going to the extent of blocking roads is unlawful and have to be attended to, said Inspector James Sabau, Harare provincial police spokesperson.

Youths reportedly aligned to Zanu PF have been on a rampage in Harare, taking over flea markets and transport terminuses around the capital which has seen them constantly clashing with city council.