Roadblocks to go

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Government yesterday condemned the proliferation of roadblocks, saying they are not necessary since Zimbabwe is not a police State.

“There is no need for all those roadblocks. We do not want corruption whereby the police use these as fundraising methods,” Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told Parliament. The DPM was responding to a question by Chipinge East MP Mathias Mlambo on the influx of roadblocks.

“We are also going to investigate the notion of spot fines so that people get receipts as opposed to spot fines, and we are going to address the matter and make sure we do not prejudice our people.”

The MP wanted to know why there were roadblocks after every kilometre on the roads and what government policy was with regard to the issue.

“It is a matter that Cabinet discussed on February 21, and they looked at two issues: corruption at these roadblocks and that there are just too many roadblocks,” said Mutambara.

“We are not a police State and are concerned about the frequency of those roadblocks between Bulawayo and Harare, and between Mutare and Harare and even within the peri-urban areas,” he said. Mutambara said Cabinet tasked Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi to investigate the matter with the aim to reduce the number of roadblocks.

Chitungwiza South MP Misheck Shoko asked the DPM to explain if police were allowed to smash vehicle windscreens to deter motorists from fleeing, especially kombis.

Mutambara said every vehicle owner whose wind
screen was smashed by the police should report the issue to the police and if they did not
act on that, then they should take the matter even to higher authorities like his office.

Zengeza West MP Collen Gwiyo said the high prevalence of roadblocks was a result of government allowing the police to retain the money they collected in fines.

Gwiyo suggested that those provisions be removed.

“We are going to investigate, and maybe one of the recommendations would be no more spot fines and that when there is a ticket issued, that amount be paid to Treasury,” said Mutambara.

Last week police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri insisted the roadblocks would not be stopped despite protests.