Government clarifies roadblocks issue

 Cde Mguni

Cde Mguni

Auxilia Katongomara Bulawayo Bureau
Government yesterday said only standard roadblocks will be reduced to four per province, but numerous spot checks by police within cities and towns will remain in place, dampening celebrations by motorists and public transport operators who thought they would now get a reprieve from harassment by law enforcement agents.

A standard roadblock has a Police Ahead sign, drums and flashing lights.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister Cde Obedingwa Mguni said it is the standard roadblocks that have been reduced to four per province and what motorists called roadblocks along routes leading to city centres or growth points were in fact spot checks.

Giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development in Harare on Monday, the Minister of Home Affairs Dr Ignatius Chombo, who was accompanied by his deputy Cde Mguni, said as from next week the police would unveil at least four standard roadblocks per province.

This was in response to concerns by tourists and motorists regarding the prevalence of police on the roads.

Public transporters and pirate taxi operators, who thought they would get a reprieve from what they termed police harassment at roadblocks, had their celebrations cut short following Cde Mguni’s explanation.

“A standard roadblock is one which consists of more than three officers, with the security barriers like drums, boomgates and other things that can be used to block or control traffic, signs to indicate that there are police ahead as well as a blue flashing light at night,” Cde Mguni said.

He said besides the standard roadblocks, there were highway patrols and checkpoints, where traffic police can stop motorists to check on some things as part of their duties.

“There are others which we call a highway patrol where the police can go with a patrol car and if they see a suspicious car they can stop it there and then and that can create something we call a checkpoint.

Checkpoints are set up when the police would have gathered information on a crime or are enforcing compliance with statutes. They set them up to check whether the information they have been given is accurate,” said Cde Mguni.

“Those standard roadblocks I mentioned are those that I said there could be one standard roadblock per district or four per province, that is what we are planning to do to reduce the roadblocks. But it doesn’t mean the checkpoints won’t be there, the highway patrols won’t be there; so people must not mix it up. Police are allowed to do spot checks, they are allowed to do highway patrols. This must be articulated correctly”.

Motorists who spoke to our Bulawayo Bureau yesterday were jubilant as they assumed that the four roadblocks per province would rid the city of the many checkpoints on the roads. A fuming motorist yesterday said he had passed three checkpoints along a six-kilometre stretch of Luveve Road in the morning.

“That’s an average of two roadblocks per two kilometres. The police are only there to frustrate motorists and demand bribes,” said the motorist who preferred anonymity. Mr Thabani Moyo, another resident who is among thousands of motorists who believed Dr Chombo meant checkpoints would be abolished, said: “This is a welcome development because we are tired of police stopping us here and there. For example, when one is travelling to Plumtree, they pass through an average of five roadblocks, which is too much considering that it’s a 100 kilometre highway.”

A taxi driver Mr Victor Mutasa said while the issue of four roadblocks was welcome, police would maximise on them to squeeze as much money out of motorists as possible.

“Few roadblocks mean more money to the motorist. The police will make sure that they identify as many offences as possible to make up for other roadblocks that would have been reduced,” said Mr Mutasa.

Kombi crews also expressed joy that they would operate “freely” as they would no longer be paying “tollgate fees”. All the celebrations came to an end when motorists were given Deputy Minister Mguni’s clarification.

“What it basically means is that nothing has changed. We will still be subject to harassment and demands for bribes from the police. They should have dealt with the intra-city roadblocks because they cause the most misery to commuters and transporters every day,” said Mr Conrad Majaya, a kombi driver.

Dr Chombo on Monday said Government would soon unveil an electronic traffic management system that would integrate all transport stakeholders like the police, Vehicle Inspection Department, Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, Road Motor Transport and Central Vehicle Registry to bring to an end to traffic management challenges.

“We have told the Commissioner-General of Police to reduce or remove all unnecessary roadblocks and leave the necessary ones,” he said.

Cde Mguni said the number of roadblocks would be increased if there were security concerns and operations aimed at combating crimes such as robberies, human and drug trafficking.

“These are the core aspects of the police,” he said.

“These other things were being done on behalf of the Vehicle Inspection Department.

“There is no need for police to check on fitness of vehicles, the route whether or not it is the correct route of the bus”.

Cde Mguni said roadblocks would be carried out by traffic police alone, while other officers would be deployed at highway patrols to check for speeding motorists, particularly passenger service vehicles.

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  • Judas Iscariot

    I’m one of those people who felt this was too good to be true,and decided to reserve my comment.I have been around long enough to know this regime is notorious for sending mixed signals,or signalling left while turning right. Remember Mangudya and Chinamasa telling the nation bond notes were only an incentive for exporters and people wouldn’t be forced to accept them? Police are making a killing with the so called checkpoints in cities and this explains why these checkpoints won’t be going anywhere. Mguni still didn’t explain why we need a checkpoint every 2km on the same stretch of road? One checkpoint with the help of highway patrol should be more than enough to make sure motorists are obeying traffic rules. This is a disgrace.

    • yowe

      Very true i was also skeptical of the announcement ….These bastards would not easily give up all that money to make the citizens feel comfortable…it is not in their nature to do anything just and right in the eyes of men and God.They are slaves of corruption and the true definition of sadists

  • xyz

    So basically nothing has changed… Herald kukwidza vanhu ndege yemashanga shuwa. Roadblocks and spot checks are a cash cow for ZRP and it’s officers and since this money is not remitted to treasury it is probably making some people super wealthy.

  • Tarubva

    Since when has Zanu PF done anything in the interest of the people? Those who huff and puff about the land reform, like Mzvinavhu, the truth is Zanu PF was forced to chaotically dish out land only as a campaign tool, after starring defeat at the hands of the then newly formed MDC. This is the worst heinous party the world will ever know!

  • yowe

    Hahahaha this government is being runned by incompetent fools… where in the world do you have “spot checks” every 2km’s ? Where are you forced to pay spot fines and that your car will be impounded if you fail to produce $20 because a reflector on your car is blurred?? I have lived and saw post independence Zimbabwe and this country has fallen apart…Cde Muzvinavanhu blame sanctions for this flagarant abuse of your fellow Zimbabweans who you fought to have liberated if you dare!!!

  • Zezuru

    Smith regime was better than this confused government. What kind of independence is this? A country where people a living like slaves haaaaaa shame shame. today this tomorrow that. very confusing

  • Zezuru

    Only God will save us

  • kutototo

    I knew it, we celebrated too early, these### will never let go of their cash cow.

  • eddy

    Hakuna hurumende yakadai.

  • murwadziswa

    Whatever name you call them, whether they are spot checks or roadblocks. Reduce police presents on the roads. they are a nonsense to citizens, ndeekubira vanhu. imagine from buchwa a 40km stretch of road inoita four mablocks. each roadbloack requesting a bribe of $15 per vehicle. From Buchwa to Zvishavane you need atmost $60. This one is a reality, matransporters ezvishavane vari panguva yakaoma nembavha idzi dzisinganyari. ungaita business rikabuda pakadayi. mapurisa acho anopinda muroad as early as 2am vochaisa kuma10pm, motiwo maspot checks akadayi. no police ahead signs. chinobhururuka chinomhara, aiva madziva avamazambuka. ngati shingeyi mazimbabweans, zvichaperera, chingoma choririsa.

  • Gamba ReManyika

    Thank you Herald and you are right. I am sure you had also celebrated, though prematurely. I know that behind the brand Herald are real people who are also concerned about the state of affairs in our beloved Zimbabwe. My concern is really about the level of dissonance in government. We are hearing different conflicting messages from the same government and this is very worrying. Tell me, did we have this many spot checks or roadblocks during the Smith era, when some of us were still “terrorists” and “bandits”? Why are we heavily policing a freed people in a free country? I can’t understand 3 spot-checks/roadblocks in a stretch of 6 km. Please don’t try to outdo the BSAP in failing to understand the plight of the black majority. I rarely get angry until you overlook the plight of the struggling, the poor and the disenfranchised. Reason why I spent my prime years in the bush fighting a system in the 70s.

  • ivhukuvanhu chete, chete

    Surely,since when a police organization can take orders from potential criminals?
    Please leave security matters to security people; they know how best to enforce the laws and protect citizens and property.

    Our ZRP is a constitutional organization; and anyone against the constitution of our Motherland is a criminal,.
    So, please be guided and respect constitutionalism.

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    Listen Mguni or whatever your name is. A roadblock is a roadblock. Don’t try to be smart Aleckey giving us semantics. When I’m stopped by the police that’s a roadblock to mke, doesn’t matter if there are flashing lights or Police Ahead crap. Roadblocks must end. Period. We have been extorted enough and we have been harassed enough. Is that too much to ask?

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    Herald you lie. Your pants are on fire. You do not have your own opinion in news reports? Since when? If that was the case we’d have articles criticising the president, etc. Instead you sugar coat our dire life and make it look like we are living in heaven.Tibvirei kumhepo.