ZLHR Ratchets up Pressure on ZRP over Reckless Use of Spikes

ZLHR Ratchets up Pressure on ZRP over Reckless Use of Spikes

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HUMAN rights lawyers have ratcheted up pressure on Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers in seeking justice for victims of delinquent conduct by law enforcements agents by demanding that they be held accountable for their misdemeanours after they recklessly threw hand held spikes onto a moving commuter omnibus.

Kevin Kabaya and Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Friday 28 October 2022 wrote a letter to the Provincial Legal Officer at ZRP Manicaland provincial headquarters protesting that they had not been informed on whether any ZRP traffic police officers have been charged with any offence and whether any internal disciplinary procedures have been instituted arising from their reckless conduct.

The ZRP officers on 4 May 2022 threw some metal spikes on an alleged speeding commuter omnibus in Mutare, which led to a fatal road traffic accident, loss of lives and injuries to some commuters.

Kabaya and Tavagadza said their clients are extremely concerned that they have neither been invited for interviews nor have any statements been recorded from them regarding the fatal road traffic accident.

Their clients, the human rights lawyers said, want to be furnished with information regarding at which stage the ZRP’s purported investigations into the matter are at and the details of all traffic police officers who were at the scene of the accident.

They argued that in making the request they are exercising their right to access to information as enshrined in section 62 of the Constitution as read with section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Kabaya and Tavagadza reminded ZRP that it has a constitutional obligation in terms of section 219 of the Constitution to detect, investigate and prevent crime as well as to uphold the Constitution and to enforce the law without fear or favour.

Kabaya and Tavagadza had on 6 May 2022 written a letter to ZRP requesting the law enforcement agency to immediately investigate the unwarranted use of metal spikes by police officers. The human rights lawyers protested that the actions of police officers in spiking an alleged speeding vehicle were reckless, needless and exposed innocent women, men and school children to serious harm and unnecessary loss of life.

The conduct of ZRP officers, the human rights lawyers said, clearly violated the victims’ rights to human dignity and bodily integrity as defined in Sections 51 and 52 of the Constitution respectively and also violated the deceased persons’ right to life protected under Section 48 of the Constitution.

In apparent response to the protests against the abuse and use of metal spikes, ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga on Friday 13 May 2022 published a press statement wherein he instantaneously banned ZRP officers from using hand held metal spikes while performing some traffic enforcement duties.

Matanga warned that any police officer who defies his directive would be arrested and prosecuted including facing stern disciplinary action.

Matanga said ZRP officers will only stick to the use of standard and approved spikes as the norm at conventional roadblocks and checkpoints and where the spikes will be laid down on the ground with certified specifications to assist police officers to control motorists who try to evade roadblocks.

ENDS

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Kodzero/Amalungelo House
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
Email: info@zlhr.org.zw
www.zlhr.org.zw
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