THE Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) has blasted the police for throwing spikes at moving passenger vehicles and smashing windscreens to apprehend errant drivers, warning that if the practice continues it would end up sparking protests.
BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
PAZ president Tafadzwa Goliati told NewsDay that incidences of police throwing spikes and teargas at moving commuter omnibuses had escalated.
He said teargassing passenger transport and throwing spikes on moving buses endangered children the most.
Recently, members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police threw teargas canisters into a bus full of passengers near the Harare Agricultural Showgrounds.
“We are not happy with the throwing of spikes on moving vehicles. The issue had been banned by the court, but the police is continuously breaking the law. Police are using force on citizens who are not even armed,” Goliati said.
“This is a very bad habit which is being displayed by the State security agents. They are abusing the law. This will steer anger among the citizens sparking serious violence.”
Goliati said there should be mutual understanding between the police and citizens.
“We want dialogue between police and citizens because we are all Zimbabweans. We are not violent people and we want our rights to be respected because we are not happy with how the police are treating us,” he said.
Goliati said there were many passengers who were injured during running battles between police and commuter omnibus operators.
“The duty of the police is not to smash windscreens and throw spikes at unarmed citizens. If citizens are abusing the law, they should be taken to court rather than smashing car screens while putting passengers’ lives at risk. It should be clear that the police are not superior to the courts and no one is above the law.”
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi dismissed Goliati’s assertions.
“That is not true. For now, most of the kombis that are pirating are from Zupco and those that are not from Zupco that break the law are taken to court. We have two or one incidents where there was the issue of spiking of vehicles, but there is no increase in such cases,” Nyathi said.
“We had one of our officers in Harare who was run down to death by a truck which was carrying passengers and we do not expect the PAZ to be complaining.”