Ashley Masakadza/Vongai Masuka
The ongoing police operation which was launched to stamp out lawlessness on roads by motorists and public transport operators has caused a public outrage over its execution which has seen a lot of innocent drivers being targeted.
The joint operation between The Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Harare City Council has seen officers arresting every commuter omnibus (Combi) which makes its way into town. This saw passengers being dropped outside he Central Business District, causing a lot of inconveniences.
By yesterday, the fares of public transport had been hiked by more that 100% as public transport operators were trying to recover their costs. A Combi going to Chitungwiza was charging $2.50 from $1, while nearby areas like Hillside and Sunningdale we now being charged $1.00 from $0.50 cents.
In the Central Business District, there were incidents of road carnage as Police and Council officers were engaging in road chases with Combis and Mushikas. Motorists were also not spared as they were being clamped and charged ridiculously high amounts.
Motorists and commuters who spoke to State of the Nation News expressed their outrage over the manner in which the operation was being conducted while calling for the authorities to be more professional in their conduct.
“What is happening today is crazy, bus fares are so high because combis are not being allowed to get into town. We are now feeling the brunt,”said Tabeth from Chitungwiza.
A motorist called Tamuka said he was surprised to find his car clamped after his parking time had expired with less that 1 minute.
“I just parked my car to go and collect something in a minute, I knew my time was almost up but I did not see a parking Marshall to assist me. So I took off knowing that I would be back in less than a minute only to find out that my car had been clamped. Now I am being forced to pay over 200 dollars. Its just crazy, “ he said.
Citizens expressed that they are tired of being robbed in daylight and called on relevant authorities to do something.
Some residents in Harare had their cars beaten with button sticks for failing to follow orders on offences they did not know.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in conjunction with it’s stakeholders have come up with an operation to check on vehicle compliance to the country’s road traffic statutes as a way to bring sanity in the country’s City and rural roads.
According to a leaked memo from the police, the operation is being implemented in a bid to ensure that vehicle owners comply with requirements on the road.This operation will be ongoing from the 12th to the 26th of September 2023 and shall be taking place all around the nation.
It will be a joint operation with external organisations like Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe( TSCZ), City Councils and Insurance Companies among others.
Officers from ZRP, ZINARA, and Harare City Council have been deployed to identify and arrest those not following the dictates of the law.
Their main effort is based on taming the traffic jungle, identifying and arrest impounding illegal pirates taxes, ‘Mushikashika’ vehicles, plate-less, unregistered, unlicensed and uninsured as well as traffic law offenders to ensure that they comply with the road Traffic Act, Licensing Act a d other road traffic regulations.
Although the motive of the operation is good, the heavy handedness of its implementation has caused a lot of worry.