THE thesaurus on my computer defines a fool as a person who acts unwisely or imprudently; a silly person, and this aptly describes three types of dangerous fools among us: the cop-chasing kombi in crowded streets; the cop-fleeing kombi driver and the cop-fleeing pirate taxi driver.
I have failed to understand the sanity of the three types of fools described above. I once witnessed an incident where ZRP cops chased a kombi in the crowded Copacabana area in Harare resulting in the kombi crashing into an innocent pedestrian. Both the kombi driver and the cops fled the scene as if they had accomplished their big objective: endangering the lives of the passengers and crashing into that unfortunate pedestrian.
I wonder if the objectives of such cat-and-mouse scenes are acts of patriotism on the part of such foolish cops to maintain order in the city. We all know that our roads in Zimbabwe, especially in Harare, are not only narrow, but poorly maintained. They are a danger on their own and they do not need some foolish heroic antics from cops who think they can translate high speed chases they see in movies into reality.
The way they chase these kombis is akin to the way piranhas chase their quarry when they smell blood. Maybe the cops would have smelled blood in the form of bribes judging from the allegations of corruption against them. The poorly trained municipal cops are not left behind in the dangerous game. The way they foolishly throw spikes under the wheels of moving or fleeing kombis endangers, not only the passengers on board, but other motorists and innocent pedestrians. You should see the glee on the faces of these raw municipal cops as they engage in such barbaric acts to understand what I mean.
But then the kombi drivers puzzle me more. Sometimes they flee from the cops violating one way traffic rules risking their lives and those of innocent passengers. It has emerged several times that some of these kombi drivers would be unlicensed. What gives these unlicensed fools the courage to drive a fully packed public vehicle when it is an offence just to be on the driver’s seat of a stationary vehicle if you are unlicensed?
And the pirate taxi drivers behave the same. They do not only drive more recklessly than the kombi drivers, but they flee both the council cops and the ZRP cops more because their vehicles are not supposed to be on the roads in the first place. Most of these pirate taxis have ugly dents that serve to warn people of the danger they pose. And like their kombi counterparts, a number of the drivers are unlicensed.
If the law was applied correctly, would we see such a large number of unlicensed drivers on our roads? I stay 25km from Harare and at times I count up to 11 police roadblocks on that relatively small distance and it boggles the mind how these unlicensed drivers go past them daily. Is it that they are fined daily and are allowed to proceed or that they pay huge bribes so that the cops see no evil? Of course we now know that the government strongly believes that fines in this country are the pillar of our gross domestic product, but should that be used as an excuse to endanger our lives on the roads?
The irony is that the cops should ensure law and order is maintained on the roads yet they are central to the chaos on those roads. Are there no mechanisms for tracing errant vehicles on the roads? If it is the love for bribes then something has to be done to dampen the appetite. It looks like there are no measures that are punitive enough to ensure that these dangerous fools are kept in check. And who are the kombi and pirate taxi owners? They must be very powerful people who can get away with employing unlicensed drivers. I assume that they are untouchable at law. If what we witness on the roads is a result of the love for money then the love for money in Zimbabwe is not only the root of all evil, but evil itself.
Whatever is the case, authorities should ensure the cat-and-mouse games end and the only way to ensure this happens is through severe punitive measures. These three groups of fools are all criminals who endanger people’s lives worse than armed robbers.