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Motorists evade checkpoints

by Staff reporter
09 Apr 2020 at 08:14hrs | Views
Motorists are evading police checkpoints and using alternative routes into Harare's central business district (CBD) where vehicular traffic has significantly increased over the past few days despite the 21-day lockdown meant to curtail the spread of Covid-19.

Yesterday's light rain showers temporarily disrupted roadblocks as some police officers, who had no raincoats, sought shelter in bus stop shades.

Pedestrians loitering in Harare city centre have significantly increased since last Friday, prompting police to increase deployments.

When the lockdown started on Monday last week, 19 people were arrested for defying the order, but the figures had since ballooned to 2 885 as of yesterday.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said the increase in vehicular traffic and pedestrians in the city centre was disturbing.

"We have noticed that more motorists are illegally driving into Harare's city centre without valid reasons, in defiance of the lockdown laws," he said.

More pedestrians are also being found loitering on the streets of Harare. To that end, we have upped our game and intensified deployments to ensure the arrest of all such offenders.

Motorists using Simon Mazorodze Road are apparently diverting from their route to evade the police checkpoint near the flyover and enter the city centre through Rekayi Tangwena Avenue.

Those from Hatfield, Braeside, Prospect and Sunningdale avoid a checkpoint along Seke Road flyover and access the city centre via Mbare, while others end up using Robson Manyika Avenue.

Motorists who use Samora Machel from the western side of the city usually turn right at Bishop Gaul Avenue to avoid the police checkpoint at the Exhibition Park and use other roads like Robert Mugabe to access the city centre.

Yesterday morning, rains affected police operations along Seke Road, as the police officers were under a bus stop shade at the flyover.

A few Harare City Council traffic officers, who had raincoats and a ZRP inspector who was in-charge of the roadblock, braved the rains and continued with their work.

In terms of the police regulations if it is raining, and the officers do not have raincoats, roadblocks should be dismounted but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the dedicated officers to continue with their work.

Investigations established that most officers do not have raincoats as part of their uniform. Wearing other raincoats, which are not part of the police uniform, is a punishable offence in terms of the police regulations.

Police, according to the Police Standing Orders, Volume 1, can be charged for wearing wet uniforms.

Source - the herald