The Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) on Monday condemned the continued use of spikes by the Chegutu town municipal police.
In a letter addressed to the Chegutu Municipality town clerk, PAZ national coordinator Tafadzwa Goliati said the overzealous traffic officers were endangering the lives of citizens by their actions. Wrote Goliati:
PAZ abhors the sheer abuse of authority by (town) of Chegutu traffic police through the use of spikes in their ill-perceived call of duty in the city as recently reported in a case involving a CAJ company bus along the Harare-Bulawayo road.
While we do not condone flouting road rules and other regulations, we strongly oppose the use of spikes to effect arrests as this puts the irreplaceable and valuable lives of passengers and other road users at risk.
PAZ expressed its displeasure after the Chegutu municipal traffic police officers used spikes to stop a CAJ bus which was coming into Chegutu from Harare on 1 August 2022.
Chegutu municipal spokesperson Brian Nkiwane said the council does not encourage the use of spikes on vehicles in motion unless there is reasonable suspicion that the driver may escape. He said:
We do not use spikes on moving vehicles, but only in exceptional cases when there is suspicion that the driver might escape, or when the vehicle is stationary.
No sane police officer would throw a spike at a moving vehicle, particularly a bus carrying over 76 passengers as is being alleged.
In May this year, PAZ approached the High Court seeking a ban on the use of handheld metal spikes by the police.
The court action came after four passengers died while eight others were injured in Mutare on 4 May 2022 after police officers manning a roadblock deployed handheld spikes in an attempt to stop an unlicensed kombi, causing it to overturn.