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Police dispute mushikashika claims

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has denied that it has been arresting people for boarding kombis not operating under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) franchise.

The police made the claim, while responding to an application by the Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) at the High Court seeking to block the police from arresting commuters who board pirate taxis after failing to get Zupco transport services.

The association argued that there was no prescribed law which criminalises the use of vehicles other than Zupco buses.

Government recently ordered the arrest of passengers who board pirate taxis known as mushikashika and that the offenders should pay a $2 000 spot fine.

In the High Court application, PAZ and Charles Nyone, who was fined for hitchhiking and George Tsiurayi, a private vehicle owner, cited Commissioner-General of police Godwin Matanga, Officer Commanding Harare province Walter Tembo and Home affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe as respondents.

But in his opposing affidavit to PAZ's High Court application, Tembo denied that the police were arresting passengers in illegal pirate taxies. He claimed the police were only arresting pedestrians and motorists for allegedly flouting traffic regulations and not for boarding non-Zupco vehicles.

"Police are simply carrying out their constitutional mandate of maintaining law and order through traffic enforcement and arresting offenders and is part of routine work," Tembo said.

"Applicants were arrested not for boarding mushikashikashika as alleged, but for hitchhiking at undersigned places. To that end, applicants were charged for contravening traffic regulations and paid deposit fines."

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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