The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has advertised a tender to buy an assortment of equipment for its traffic teams, raising suspicion the force wants to intensify the blitz on motorists.
Government is in the process of crafting a policy to stop police from demanding spot fines following an outcry that the high number of roadblocks on the countrys highways had become an inconvenience to motorists.
There have been complaints especially from public transporters that police officers are demanding bribes at the numerous roadblocks. Revelations that the ZRP wants to strengthen its teams rather than scale down on the roadblocks are likely to further unnerve restless motorists.
According to the tender document titled ZRP/FT 05/2011, police want to acquire 110 state-of-the-art speed trap machines, 700 Police Ahead Signs, 500 road barriers and 1 000 deflators, among other equipment.
The tender, which closes on April 17, is also for the acquisition of 80 breathalyser machines.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday insisted there was nothing unusual about the planned massive acquisitions.
It is a normal replenishment programme which we are doing, he said.
It is standard procedure. For speed traps, they need to be standardised as the ones which we had were not enough so we are adding on the ones we have and upgrading the equipment.
It is not necessarily true that we want to intensify roadblocks. We are just upgrading.
Although Cabinet last month directed the Home Affairs co-ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Mokone to ensure the roadblocks were reduced, police have remained defiant.
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri defended the roadblocks saying they were meant to rein in unscrupulous motorists who have turned roads into a traffic jungle.
An MDC-T national executive committee also condemned the increase in the number of roadblocks and accused police of using them to fundraise.
These roadblocks are excessive and are apparently a ploy to fundraise for Zanu PF, the party said in a statement early this month.
The committee condemned the practice by some ZRP officers to smash windowscreens of vehicles as a way to enforce these excessive roadblocks.