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Court Dismisses Tollgate Fees Case

The Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) says it needs nearly $2 billion to rebuild and maintain the country’s road network. (ZINARA website)

A Harare High Court judge on Monday dismissed a court application filed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights challenging the recent hike in tollgate fees.

High Court judge, Joseph Mafusire, ruled that the application challenging Transport Minister Obert Mpofu’s new tollgate fees lacked merit.

Justice Mafusire’s ruling, that was read on his behalf by judge Francis Bere, said it was within the exclusive domain of the minister as a member of the executive to decide how road rehabilitation and construction in the country should be managed.

Justice Bere, however, found that the issue in question was of public importance.

The lawyer representing the Zimbabwe National Road Administration, or Zinara, Advocate Farai Mutamangira, welcomed the court’s decision.

ZLHR’s attorney, Joshua Shekede, said although he is bound by the court’s ruling, he is not happy with its decision.

Although ZLHR had filed a court challenge, government, through Zinara, went ahead to charge motorists the new fees that were hiked by at least 100 percent.

Small motor vehicles are now required to pay $2, up from one dollar while heavy vehicles are now required to pay $10 instead of five dollars.

Harare motorist, Mufudzi Sakupwanya, said he is also not happy with the court’s ruling.

He added that by hiking tollgate charges, the government has demonstrated its insensitivity to the plight of Zimbabweans who are bearing the brunt of an excruciating economic crisis.

In other news, a Harare woman jumped to her death from the 13th floor of a building in the city center this morning in what is suspected to be a suicide case.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said authorities are still investigating the matter but sources at the crime scene claimed that the now deceased had earlier had an argument with her un-named husband.

Women’s rights organizations as well as government have expressed concern in the rise in domestic violence issues in the country.