WASHINGTON DC —
Human rights lawyers and members of the public have welcomed High Court judge Justice Francis Bere’s pronouncements Monday that it is unconstitutional for the police to demand spot fines and impound vehicles at roadblocks for traffic offenses.
Speaking at the official opening of the Masvingo High Court circuit, Justice Bere said collecting spot fines is illegal and has distracted the police from their core business of policing.
Anti-corruption lobby groups such as Afrobarometer and Transparency International Zimbabwe have for years alleged that police at roadblocks are involved in corrupt deals commonly referred to as shakedowns.
Transport operators and motorists who spoke with VOA Studio 7 are welcoming the remarks by the judge.
Attorney Dzimbabwe Chimbga of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Justice Bere is spot on.
Spot fines were once discussed in parliament with Zanu-PF lawmaker, Irene Zindi, calling on the police to declare the amount of money collected from motorists as spot fines on a weekly basis.
Responding, Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, said the police would comply if so requested, adding that “as of now, the requirement we have been following is that we are required to declare it to treasury and to have our accounts audited.”
Former Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, often clashed with Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi over the non-remmitance of police fines to the treasury.