New traffic fines fuel corruption –TIZ

Transparency International Zimbabwe strongly disagrees with the decision made through Parliament to increase traffic fines from $10 and $20 to $100. In a country where between 2011 and 2014 reliable sources report that poverty, including urban poverty has risen from 73,2 in 2011 to approximately 90% in 2014

(http://data.worldbank.org/country/zimbabwe).

Where unemployment is also at a record high of 80% such a decision reflects either that neither Parliament nor the police have done their homework. In the alternative if they have done their homework the decision reflects a high level of insensitivity to the plight of the citizens. To introduce such unrealistic fines in an environment of poverty encourages lawlessness of both citizens and law enforcement.

Before this ill-timed and ill-informed decision was all over the radio on December 28 2015, many motoring citizens had at various points complained about the excessive patrols of traffic police on Zimbabwe’s roads making driving an exasperating experience. Some citizens have gone so far as to describe the behaviour of the traffic police as predatory as they await motorists with the viciousness and malice of a bird of prey. Many citizens who by virtue of being self –employed use their vehicles for running their businesses to put food on the table, educate their children and provide shelter are harassed at every street corner for real and imagined infractions by the police. It appears that being fully aware that the motoring public is barely able to pay a $10 and $20 fine the police are hedging their bets that with a higher fine threshold of $100, defaulting motorists will be willing to raise their bribes maybe to half of that or higher, making the police an accessory and if not the solicitors (which most citizens in the TIZ National Corruption Barometer 2012 and 2013 claim they are) are at the very least aiding and abetting corruption to borrow a legal doctrine from the English and American legal system.

Worse still, there is an erroneous belief by some traffic police that because they have been assigned to this role they have forensic scientific knowledge offences such as moving at traffic light controlled intersections.

A police officer seen blocking a car near  Siyaso  informal market in Mbare. Police have  increased their presence on the country’s roads

They will brook no argument when it is evident their opinions are not based on scientific facts. One police man claimed as a scientific fact that motorists must know that traffic lights for vehicles on turning lanes can only accommodate two vehicles before turning amber then red.

This is highly debatable, because there is by observation evidence that all over the city traffic lights are not programmed to behave in the same predictable manner. Some will turn from red to green to amber in seconds, barely giving motorists a chance to assemble themselves into turning or take – off positions. While there are other traffic lights that will stay in one position for so long one has to wonder if it is in working order or not. Is it on the basis of such guesswork forensics that one should be made to pay $100?

Parliament and the Police are also aware of myriad of issues that contribute to bad driving and road carnage on our roads that need their equal attention. There is the decrepit state of our roads, the potholes that worsen with every rainy season putting motorists at risk, poor rain water drainage when it rains, lack of road markings at vital points (where some bad drivers take advantage by taking the lions’ share of the road to themselves). There is also foliage and trees covering road signs such as stop signs and give-way signs that are supposed to be in plain view to the motorists that municipalities should be regulating.
Topping this is the alleged corruption at VID that sells licences to motorists who are not competent to be on the road or allowing road unfit vehicles to be on the road. These and more issues are likely to be the greater contributors to road carnage not just an absent- minded motorists.

As anti-corruption advocates we are already concerned about the anecdotal evidence received that alleges that this traffic police corruption is petty only in the lower levels but forms a pyramid that involves high ranking police officials as payments go up the ladder, turning it into a grand corruption scam. This is made worse by the fact that all other auxiliary departments to law enforcement such as the VID and Court system will want to take advantage of this by also cashing-in on the hamstrung motorists.

In view of these concerns Transparency International Zimbabwe urges the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Parliament to reconsider this. Parliament in the contrary is requested to review whether the heavy handed presence of the police on the roads is leading to or has led to reduced traffic infractions and road carnage and factor in all other contributors to traffic offences and road carnage. – Transparency International Zimbabwe

9 Responses to New traffic fines fuel corruption –TIZ

  1. SARRA42472 December 31, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    as Phyllis replied I am in shock that any body able to make $4140 in a few weeks on the internet . try this website..

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  2. Okech December 31, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

    For as long as Zimbabweans remain docile such things will be happening quite often. It is called rent seeking.

  3. zai January 1, 2016 at 7:42 am #

    Obviously gvt will nt get even a cent of this. Ths will see t getting much less than wat they used to get

  4. David January 1, 2016 at 7:51 am #

    On what basis were these fines increased? Out of every 10 cars passing thru a robot how many motorists would u find with $100 in their wallets in Zim? Probably one on average. Fines must not just be punitive but affordable to be effective. The purpose of increasing fines should not be maximising revenue collection but policing. This is a recipe for more corruption.

  5. unko January 1, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    certainly by the introduction of such fines shows that the govt does not care about the suffering of the pple.just check at the end of the year the cars which will be bought by zrp

  6. F. Kamunda January 2, 2016 at 6:51 am #

    It was approved by Members of Parliament, MPS who are evil more than anyone in the world, failed kupedza hurombo munyika now they need to finish off the poor nxaaaah.

  7. gggg January 2, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    to have a car, its now a taboo. just look most road users had parked there cars because of the fines , people does not have

  8. Lenard January 2, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    The fact that there are many many roadblocks on our roads (some of them are permanent) and that fines are now up by over 500% makes one think that roadblocks must be seen as an important revenue stream for government.
    I agree that our road users need a robust and diligent traffic police section – especially with the Kombi’s and illegal taxis racing though the heart of the CBD with people hanging out the backdoors – but what we will soon realise that people who struggle to find work, and if they do, often don’t get paid on time or in full (or at all) will not be able to pay the fines. Then what?
    Please get rid of the illegal taxis that race through the city like they own it (Harare streets) then we can discuss fining the others.

  9. ssara522 January 3, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    as Phyllis replied I am in shock that any body able to make $4140 in a few weeks on the internet . try this website..

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