HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsIs it criminal to own a car?

Is it criminal to own a car?

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I was at Borrowdale Post Office for the registration of my vehicle.

Initially, I thought that it would be a walk-in and walk-out situation, but alas, it was a nightmarish experience.

There were two people serving hundreds of motorists who were in the queue that streamed outside the post office.

It was around noon when I arrived and I sat down at the end of the queue which was moving at a snail’s pace.

Some decided to go home- and others went to the food- court where nothing was cooking because of the power cuts.

I could have decided to leave because I had already spent nearly eight hours in the queue.
I called a guard to assist me so that I got help because I was shaking.

I had not had lunch because I thought it would not take that long.

A white woman from Borrowdale gave me three suckers to cool my nerves.

This woman had left her gardener at 7am in the queue to hold the place for her, but I was now standing next to her at 7pm —12 hours later!.

The woman who was serving at the first counter looked very tired with bloodshot eyes.

One could tell that she had had a very busy day.
I hope these guys will get overtime for the work they did. I am reliably informed that the queues were still meandering at the post office until late in the night.

The sad reality, however, is that Zimbabweans are generally calm people and not a single person complained about the slow process.

It took at least 20 minutes per person to get information saved in the database.

The simplest thing which I believe can work is to link up the Central Vehicle Registry that has data for all cars in Zimbabwe, with the post offices so that the process speeds up.

The culture of making people stand for such long hours is no doubt abuse of law-abiding citizens of this country.

I have just heard that the registration deadline has been extended to the end of June, but damage has already been done.

These pronouncements are sickening and it seems as though it is criminal to own a motor vehicle.

But the question is where is all this money going to?

Our roads are so bad that vehicles hardly last long because of damage to their suspensions.

So frightening are some of the potholes that you wonder where the money collected is being channelled to.

It is increasingly becoming difficult to venture into residential areas one is not familiar with because motorists can find themselves in deep problems after landing in big potholes.

Importing cars via Beitbridge is another nightmare.
The congestion at this border post is a man-made chaos where those who pay the officials something get their vehicles quickly processed.

The drama is not yet over because when you get to Harare, one goes through an arduous process of procuring number plates and other requirements which are burdensome

After you have put number plates, the next monster is the Zimbabwe Republic Police officers at roadblocks that will always find some defect on the new car.

I saw more than eight cops that included four women cops creating commotion as they stopped vehicles for whatever reason along Kirkman Road on Tuesday night.

Is it logical to put up a police roadblock at 1900hours?

What will they be looking for? I just wonder. Authorities at police general headquarters should probe this matter . . . I am reliably informed that these cops are still demanding spot fines.

We have allowed corruption to take root and now everybody has accepted it as a normal way of living.

Cars are not a luxury any- more. They are a basic commodity because Zimbabwe does not have a reliable public transport system, but authorities have made life difficult for motorists.

This is the reason why I persevered to get a licence disc.

To say it was a nightmare is an understatement: it was a dreadful experience.

When spot fines were declared illegal, the police came with yet another punitive measure for motorists that do not have fire extinguishers and red triangles.

We only get paid once a month, but it would seem as though police think money flows freely into our purses.

Harare has over 30 post offices which could have served motorists in their own areas of residence, but just a handful of these are computerised.

I urge the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration and other parastatals to be sensitive to people’s needs.

It would seem as though owning a car in Zimbabwe is criminal because some of the measures that authorities introduce are meant to push Zimbabweans to suffer more.

It seems as though owning a vehicle in Zimbabwe is a “punishable” offence.

feedback: rmapimhidze@newsday.co.zw

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