The Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) and two minors who were injured when a Kombi they were travelling in overturned just after a police roadblock want the courts to ban the use of handheld spikes by law enforcement agents.
The kombi accident occurred in Mutare on 4 May 2022 after police officers manning a roadblock deployed handheld spikes in an attempt to stop the unlicensed vehicle, causing it to overturn.
Four passengers died while eight others were injured in the incident, with eyewitnesses blaming the police for the tragedy.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on Thursday, 19 May issued a statement on PAZ’s legal challenge to the use of handheld metal spikes by the police. The statement read:
The Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) and two juveniles injured when a Toyota Hiace overturned in Mutare on 4 May 2022 have approached the High Court seeking to have the use of handheld spikes on moving vehicles declared illegal and interdict the police from using such crude policing method.
In an application filed on 19 May, the three are also seeking an order to have the smashing of windscreens declared illegal.
PAZ, a 70-year-old woman Laiza Chikonye and another woman who is representing two juveniles involved in the Mutare accident that was caused by the throwing of spikes by the police are represented by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
After the Mutare accident, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga issued a statement banning the use of the handheld spikes by the police, but the three want the practice to be declared illegal.
Last year, PAZ approached the High Court seeking the same relief, but the court dismissed that application on technical grounds, The Supreme Court however overturned the High Court decision.
Before the statement by the Police Commissioner-General, the police had issued similar statements condemning the use of handheld spikes but continued using them in enforcing traffic regulations.
PAZ and the two women are now seeking an order that binds the police and the Homa Affairs minister.