HOME Affairs and Culture minister Obert Mpofu’s call for the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to reduce roadblocks and introduce smart ways of traffic management in the country is more than welcome only if this directive can be seen through.
This is because the Augustine Chihuri-led police force has the penchant for anything corrupt, and Zimbabweans have seen many directives even from former President Robert Mugabe being ignored.
Chihuri himself has even shown contempt of Parliament when asked to appear before the legislature to answer to many issues pertaining to his force’s operations.
So the citizenry can only hope that Chihuri and his team of officers are eager to embrace change and move together with the rest of Zimbabweans tired of abuse by the generality of the force and corrupt tendencies by the traffic section.
It is a fact that police officers manning roadblocks across Zimbabwe had become a menace as they seemed bent on extorting motorists rather than effecting traffic regulations and ensuring the safety of both motorists and commuters.
What had become of major concern is that almost every commuter omnibus and any other vehicle was deemed to have a defect, for which the driver had to pay, and this does not make sense.
It is indeed time for the police to rebuild the confidence that the motoring public had lost in them and live up to their police charter that promotes a good working relationship between the police and the communities they serve.
The numerous roadblocks have indeed become unnecessary and there is need for all fines to be done electronically using OneMoney, EcoCash and so on. This will help ensure accountability as well with regard to the revenue collected and also a breakdown of offences committed so that everything is done above board.
It had become worrisome that unroadworthy vehicles were not impounded at roadblocks as long as the driver parted with some money. This posed a danger to the driver, passengers and other road users and created the impression that police officers were just after the dollar rather than ensuring safety, which must be the key factor.
It is heartening that the new minister has spoken to this and other issues of concern and our prayer is that the police will take heed of this call and do the right thing.
As long as vehicles that are not worthy to be on the road are kept there simply because the drivers can fork out fines, then we are still a long way from reducing road traffic accidents and we can as well brace for yet another bloody festive season on the roads.
Over the years, a strong anti-police sentiment has developed in the population and the police have a lot of work to restore public confidence and win back the support they had lost.