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Commuter Drivers up in Arms Over Tyre Slashings

Zimbabwe Commuter Buses
Commuter omnibus drivers in Harare are up in arms with Zimbabwe Republic Police and municipal police officers who they charge are damaging their vehicles for various traffic offenses using baton sticks and spikes.

Public transport drivers told VOA Wednesday they unhappy with traffic cops and municipal police officers who are allegedly smashing windows and spiking tyres of their vehicles demanding they pay fines for traffic offences or bribes.

Driving downtown Harare is a menace with the police saying public transport drivers disregard rules of the road and pick and drop passengers in undesignated areas.

VOA witnessed an incident in which police officers were throwing spikes on the road to deflate the tyres of some mini buses picking up passengers at an illegal point.

Some drivers dangerously drove off, some in reverse on Robert Mugabe Street and some passengers, though worried about the behavior of commuter bus drivers, are beginning to say the police are making the situation worse, charging their behavior is in turn risking passengers’ lives.

Champion Tsomondo is a commuter driver plying the City-Mabvuku route. He admits sometimes drivers are in the wrong but adds corrupt municipal and ZRP officers are making the situation worse.

“They destroy our vehicles, for example when they spike the vehicle tyres, that’s just not on,” he said. “It is very expensive to buy just one tyre but they do not care. They either use their baton sticks to destroy your window screen or the spikes so in essence we are working for nothing at the end of the day,” said Tsomondo.

Commuter Takawira Jemedze of Budiriro high density suburb says the actions of traffic cops and municipal police are now putting the lives of the public at risk.
“I think they need to find other ways to use to make sure these errant drivers pay for their traffic offences and not doing things that put our lives as passengers at risk,” said Jemedze.

Meanwhile, Tsomondo is urging the police and the city-fathers to look for alternative remedies instead of creating another problem by trying to solve another problem.
Harare mayor Benard Manyenyeni told VOA he was unaware of the actions of the municipal police. He promised to look into the matter.

His remarks received a backlash from motorists who said the mayor should know all activities taking place in his council. Some said the intensified exercise of smashing windows and spiking vehicle tyres has been taking place for a couple of weeks now with municipal and ZRP officers working together.

VOA investigations indicate that the law enforcement agents end up smashing windows and spiking tyres of commuter omnibuses because the drivers would be attempting to flee from paying fines after contravening traffic laws.

Some motorists are complaining that the remedial actions of the traffic cops are illegal.