HomeAMH VoicesAMHVoices: Overzealous traffic cops not good for tourism

AMHVoices: Overzealous traffic cops not good for tourism


I have not written to the newspaper in the 70 years that I have lived in this country.

By Jeff Dick,Our Reader

There are too many mandatory check points along the country’s highways
There are too many mandatory check points along the country’s highways

However, I have lost my patience and sense of humour!

We recently had my daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren visit us over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
It was a lovely family time. We looked forward to our final few days together, at Kariba.

I have an old Toyota Land Cruiser and trailer. I have spent considerable time and money ensuring that I was compliant with the over-strict regulations, which apply to towing trailers in this country.

On the morning of departure, my old handy person and I inspected the brake lights and indicator lights. All were working perfectly.

We were stopped five times at roadblocks for a full inspection on the way up to Kariba, and three times on the return trip.

Each time, we had to pull over, off the road and be subject to a total inspection.

On the third stop, en route to Kariba, near Karoi, we were pulled off the road, and this time, the gleeful police officer, told me that one of our brake lights on the trailer was not working. This was odd as in the two previous inspections that morning, they were fine.

My son-in-law got out of the car and assisted me in checking the brake lights. They were working well. The police officer said that he would not accept this, as when he examined the trailer, one of the lights was not working! I explained that with the extremely bumpy roads in the country that electrical connections can sometimes get loose and that both lights were now working well.

He insisted that he would fine me because when he examined them, one was not working. At that point I finally lost my cool and was threatened with arrest.

I had to pay $10 for the light “not working” and $20 for failing to sit on the side of the road while he further berated me.

Before arriving in Kariba, we were stopped a further two times for complete inspections.

On the return journey, we were stopped three times for total inspections.

On the last inspections, near Harare, I was told that I did not have sufficient triangles in my vehicle. I was not aware that I needed two sets of triangles for the vehicle and a further two sets of triangles for the trailer.
Another fine of $10.

My son-in-law and daughter live in South Africa, as obviously do my grandchildren. The way we were treated was certainly no advert for wishing to be a tourist in Zimbabwe. My grandson of five even remarked: “Why do the police hassle you so much, grandpa?”

I shall be forwarding a copy of this letter to David Coltart, whom I believe is compiling a dossier of these sort of complaints.

Hopefully, they can eventually be brought to the attention of the authorities.

Surely, a simple solution would be a mandatory check point, early on in the journey. One would then be issued with a sticker which indicates that your vehicle and trailer have been cleared for the day. That would mean one inspection per journey, which would be acceptable.

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