A HARARE man, Andrew Makunura, has filed a Constitutional Court challenge seeking an order compelling police to stop demanding spot fines at roadblocks.
BY FELUNA NLEYA
Through his lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara, Makunura argued that the demand for spot fines violated Sections 69 (1) and (3), 86 (3), 68, 66 and 71 of the Constitution.
In his application, Makunura cited Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Constable Agrippa Chinyama and the Attorney-General’s Office as respondents.
Makunura claimed that he was stopped by Chinyama at a police roadblock along High Glen Road in Harare on February 12 this year while taking his children to school and asked to pay a $10 spot fine for not displaying a car radio licence.
He said after indicating that he did not have the money on him, he was delayed for more than an hour as Chinyama insisted on the fine.
“I aver additionally that my rights in Section 69 (1) and (3) of the Constitution were violated and continue to be violated in that by demanding that I pay the fine on the spot, third respondent arrogated to himself to be the complainant, prosecutor, judge/jury and executioner,” Makunura said in his application.
He added: “I am advised that the issue of a notice to pay a fine allows me the opportunity, in my own time, to consider and decide whether to admit and pay the fine or to challenge the notice in a court of law.”
Makunura said his right to freedom of movement was infringed as his driver’s licence was confiscated until he reluctantly paid the fine a few hours later at Southerton Police Station.
“This is not an isolated case, but to the best of my knowledge, this incident is reflective of the general conduct of police at roadblocks whereby they compel people to pay fines on the spot or impose unreasonable and unlawful conditions as they did in my case by confiscating my driver’s licence. The fair trial rights of scores of citizens are at stake. Each day, they continue to be subjected to a demand that they pay a fine on the spot.
“It is imperative for this matter to be determined by this honourable court as it will clarify under what defined circumstances, if any, respondents can demand payment of a fine on the spot. Without such a determination, there is a risk of continued unconstitutional practices impinging on the fair trial rights of the citizens. This matter is, therefore, of grave importance. It is no trifling matter.”