Chihuri defends use of spikes. . . It’s a necessary defence for traffic officers, he says

Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri

Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri

Daniel Nemukuyu, Harare Bureau
POLICE Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri has said the use of spikes at roadblocks is a necessary defence for traffic officers who risk being run over by unruly motorists amid claims that at least 36 officers were either killed or injured on the country’s roads last year alone.

Commissioner General Chihuri said the practice was not found in the Zimbabwe Republic Police alone.

He was responding to an application by human rights activist Mr Okay Machisa to have the use of spikes to deflate vehicles at roadblocks declared unconstitutional.

Commissioner General Chihuri said the practice was justified and was supported by a section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which provides for the use of minimum force.

“During the period stretching from January to December 2016, a total of 36 police officers were deliberately and negligently killed or maimed manning roadblocks countrywide and these perpetrators, who, with constructive intent, run over police officers, intentionally do not stop despite having committed such serious offences,” said Commissioner General Chihuri.

“They (spikes) act as a deterrent, and are due to the alarming figures of killed or maimed police officers carrying out official duties. It is my submission that there should be a way of allowing these defenceless officers to defend themselves where the situation calls for and this can be achieved by the use of minimum force,” reads Commissioner General Chihuri’s opposing affidavit.

He added that the spikes were used cautiously and only in extreme cases.

“It is submitted that when using spikes, members of the ZRP are called upon to exercise cautiousness and reasonability and only use spikes in extreme cases.

“These spikes are not dangerously thrown but as already alluded to, they are laid on the ground upon a vehicle being stopped,” reads the opposing affidavit.

Responding to Mr Machisa’s suggestion that traffic officers should simply note down the registration numbers of the fleeing vehicles, Commissioner General Chihuri said the suggestion was theoretical.

“It is submitted that due to the extreme lawlessness that has become the order of the day, there is a lot of fake number plates being used resulting in challenges when making a follow-up in that some of these plates can hardly be traced or alternatively, do not exist at all in the system,” he said.

“Its (suggestion) implementation remains more or less theoretical than practical especially considering that the errant motorists are evading a roadblock at high speed or alternatively have knocked down a police officer,” Commissioner General Chihuri said.

Grabbing a pen, piece of paper and trying to memorise the registration number, the police boss said, was not practical when the offender was speeding.

The use of spikes, according to Commissioner General Chihuri, was an effective traffic enforcement method internationally and in Zimbabwe it is governed by police reference and source books used in police training and police operations.

“It also emanates from the use of minimum force as governed by an Act of Parliament, the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to be precise,” reads the opposing affidavit.

Commissioner General Chihuri said spikes were also necessary to restore order in Harare’s central business district and other towns.

“It is my fervent belief that the use of spikes is necessary, reasonably justifiable and proportionate in view of the general hostility and lawlessness by the motoring public that have become a menace especially in Harare’s CBD and other towns.

“Such lawlessness has led to vehicles picking and dropping passengers at undesignated places (both public service and private vehicles commonly known as mushika-shika).

“Some end up driving against One Way, speeding and in general disregard of police roadblocks, police signs and road signs, some riding on bumpers and tail gates. The list is endless,” reads the opposing affidavit.

Last month Zimbabwe Human Rights Association director Mr Machisa filed an application at the High Court challenging the constitutionality of police using spikes at roadblocks, saying the practice had the potential of damaging property, injuring or killing people.

In the court application, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo were listed as respondents in their official capacities.

Mr Machisa wants an order declaring the practice unconstitutional. He also seeks another order prohibiting the practice with immediate effect.

The activist said the use of spikes or any other deflating devices was not supported by legislation.

Mr Machisa argued that justifiable or minimum force was employed in serious offences but that most traffic offences were minor, fineable and did not warrant drastic measures like spike-throwing.

Throwing spikes without compunction, the activist said, was a violation of the right to administrative justice as enshrined in Section 68 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

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  • Mtshayisa

    So the man is saying the police place spikes in front of a speeding car?Really? PLACE it IN FRONT of a SPEEDING vehicle. I have watched HARRY Porter movies and cartoons, but this kind of acrobatics by our officers that their boss alludes to beats them all.

    • MakhosiXamu

      You are merely singing your poor western song

      • Phiri

        Fuseki Ndwangu

      • Jojochenjera

        Is that all you have to say? Lay off the keyboard. You’re exposing how shallow your thought process is.

  • gwa

    like 36 officers maimed , killed sum this up how many innocent citizens have lost their lives to these spike welding bailif are the police lives more important than that of the mass that feeds these chihuriz

    • Kabatshe

      Why evade or drive away from Police in the first place? To me police are justified to us spikes for fleeing vehicles. Drivers are urged to stop when directed so by a peace officer, Produce the necessary documents as required by the law. When cleared drive off. The fleeing crooks bust be arrested, This so called activist Machisa must have his heard examined it seems he wants to promote lawlessness.

  • Mbla

    What can you expect from him

    • MakhosiXamu

      Uyi njaaaa, Mgodoyi.

      • MakhosiXamu

        In a foul mood this morning, twin brother? Need my support?

  • LihloLikazulu

    What about all these Mpi mpi cars that drive around Bulawayo without number plates picking and dropping passengers everywhere. Some have number plates covered with dirty pieces of cloths. Check the corner of Fort Street and 8th Avenue. They have literally colonized that intersection and the cops do nothing. Put spikes in front of the first one and at the back of the last one and collect fines from these road monsters.

  • DOCTOR NGWENYA

    we are tired of these police officers,when you stop at the road block they always
    demand money and nothing else.people try by all mean to comply with the law
    but they are being harassed by police daily.so people end up loosing petience
    because of the police behavior.these police officers behave like animals and i dont
    think they ever been thought how to approch people or ever when for public relation.
    especial these new guys.and their superiors are so corrupt.

  • makhosi

    The deputy home affairs minister recently said we take videos so that the illegal practice could be curbed. Now the commissioner general is defending spikes. These thugs are taking the tax payers for granted!! One wonders if they ever discuss these issues b4 making nationwide statements???

  • qondani

    Results of failing

  • Department 6

    Spikes at road block?? Today I saw the police at robots of takawira & fife street, with spikes.

  • Mlilo Chauke

    madoda u machisa ulayo yini imota vele kkkkk

  • Ndabezitha

    Just a question for the General. What does he mean when he says the police officers at roadblock are defenseless?

  • Roscoe

    The guy is a joke

  • Jojochenjera

    How did the traffic cops manage before these dastardly spikes came into operation? You need to be objective in your analysis. What Zimbabwe needs is honest and transparent enforcement of the law on our roads. I’m not even going to mention the small matter of unusable roads…it’s now dog-eat-dog on the roads.

    What ‘western’ ideologies are you on about? Are you suggesting that ONLY you have a monopoly of opinions and ideas? Grow a pair dude and refrain from going off tangent.

  • MacGee

    In my opinion ,The traffic police are very much justified for using spikes. I have seen the worst in combi and drivers most of them have no prerequisites of driving a public vehicle and they present a great danger to other road users especially pedestrians. The worst behaviour is from those pirate and unlicensed Honda fits. In town we only have the Mubaiwas who do well, those others are horrible. The poloce should increase their presence at cnr 11th avenue and Fort street, 6th avenue and Lobengula robot, Hebert Chitepo and Takawira Zebra crossings and all the Honda fits in 8th avenue and Robert Mugabe must be impounded and confisticated by the state. This can bring sanity in our cities and let the registered operators earn something