SOMEWHERE in this edition, we carry a story giving chilling statistics on the sharp increase in road accidents, mostly fatal ones, during this Easter holiday when compared to the same period last year.
While it’s true that most of the accidents could be a result of human error and by implication the massive reduction in police roadblocks, other factors such as huge increase in traffic volumes, drunken driving, poor state of roads, and the advent of faster cars and unlicensed drivers should also be taken into account.
It is hoped that the police, in releasing these figures, are not trying to justify their plans to reintroduce their infamous innumerable roadblocks, which if truth be told aided the accidents instead of reducing them.
It’s undeniable that roadblocks had become ZRP’s cash cow and in the process bred a corrupt crop of traffic officers, who did not give a hoot about the state of vehicles they inspected after being palm-greased.
Zimbabwe under former President Robert Mugabe had been turned into an effective police State and following the events in November that forced him into resignation, our country has known some modicum of decency especially on the roads.
The massive cut in the number of roadblocks has been hailed as a positive spin, even on tourist arrivals due to less interference with road traffic and unnecessary checkpoints across the country.
In fact, Zimbabwe recently received kudos at the world’s international travel exposition in Berlin, Germany on the introduction of self-drives across the country by foreign visitors, as this form of tourism was stopped due to extortionist tendencies by some rogue police officers.
Of course, we need the police to provide checks on the roads and reduce the carnage, but this should never be sold to citizens in an uncouth manner shrouded with sinister motives.
We have nothing against the police, but something drastic needs to be done before police can be given “carte blanche” to use their old methods of policing. Zimbabweans have tasted fresh air, and the police must not be allowed to sour the mood in the country for their selfish motives using the unfortunate deaths on our roads.
Clearly, the police force needs a complete overhaul going forward. We believe that this cry for a return to our roads is not only selfish, but dangerous at this moment.
If they are allowed to return to their old ways, we have no doubt that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime will regret it.