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Stop disreputable roadblocks

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The clich too much of anything is not good best describes the outbreak of roadblocks on our roads.

While we appreciate that it is necessary to have traffic police patrolling our roads and manning meaningful roadblocks to tame the traffic jungle, we find it objectionable when cops become the source of problems on the nations roads.

What is more repugnant is the motive by the police for setting up roadblocks that are sometimes literally 500 metres apart with the singular objective of collecting money from motorists, especially commuter omnibus crews.

The basic motive for setting up roadblocks should be to save lives and to curb crime through ensuring vehicles on the roads are roadworthy, that drivers are not under the influence of intoxicants and that contraband goods are not transported via our roads among other things.

But what we see the police doing at their multitudes of roadblocks is far from this.

They just approach drivers, collect money and wave the vehicles on.

What is also worrisome is the number of officers with ticket books at each of these roadblocks at times exceeding 10! It makes their intentions clear.

Ironically when these cops are needed, they are nowhere to be seen. They take their time to attend to accident scenes and when traffic lights are not working a norm these days they are slow to do point duty.

We only see cops at street corners when the Presidents motorcade is due to pass.

It is a pity but it is now public knowledge that most of these officers have become pastmasters at extorting bribes from motorists, particularly from public transport crews.

They have become so arrogant that they extort and receive bribes as a matter of course.

It is also clear that these roadblocks are sanctioned by very powerful people within the force.
How else do we explain the transactions that take place in broad daylight?

The paradox is that there has been an increase in the number of fatal accidents in recent years.

Clearly there has been no improvement in safety on our roads.

There now seem to be more officers on the roads than in police stations and we wonder whether the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is now made up entirely of traffic officers.

The only professional and honourable thing for those who head the ZRP to do is to order a stop to these disreputable roadblocks.

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