Zim police chief Matanga bans use of spikes amid public outrage
Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Godwin Matanga on Friday banned the use of hand-held spikes on errant motorists by traffic police officers following a public outcry after such actions have resulted in deaths and injuries.
A police officer in Mutare recently threw spikes at an escaping commuter omnibus, resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle which overturned and left four passengers dead, while several others were injured.
The incident caused outrage among citizens, with Members of Parliament agreeing this week to summon home affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe to explain the use of spikes on errant drivers amid the possibility of causing fatalities.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said Matanga had noted with concern allegations that some police officers were using hand-held spikes while trying to stop errant motorists from evading checkpoints and during general enforcement of road rules and regulations.
“The Commissioner-General of Police has with immediate effect banned the use of hand-held spikes by any police officers while performing traffic enforcement duties throughout the country,” Nyathi said.
He added that any officer who defied the directive would be arrested and face both criminal and stern disciplinary action.
“No police officer will be allowed to move around while openly holding or carrying spikes under the guise of traffic enforcement,” he added.
Nyathi, however, appealed to the motoring public to adhere to road regulations and stop at police checkpoints as required by the law.
The use of spikes by the police has been a burning issue for several years now, with the Passengers Association of Zimbabwe once taking it to the High Court arguing that it endangered the lives of passengers.
However, the court ruled in favor of the police, saying that banning their use would be tantamount to legalizing crime and disempowering the police from carrying out their mandate to maintaining law and order.