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It is alleged that a Karoi woman died after she was run over by a pirating taxi that veered off the road when municipal police threw spikes at a moving vehicle. The wanton use of spikes by police officers has resulted in a surge in traffic accidents. On Tuesday 16 May in Karoi council police are alleged to have thrown spikes at pirating taxi operators after which one of the taxis ran over three people who sustained injuries. It is also alleged that when vendors realised that the municipal police had arrived in a taxi they pounded the vehicle with stones and later torched it. Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers that arrived at the scene to restore order also had their car damaged during the running battles. When contacted for comment, Karoi police confirmed the death but indicated that they could not be quoted. Constable Taizivei, from ZRP General Headquarters, said they had not received the report.

Recently a police officer was assaulted by members of the enraged by throwing of spikes at a moving vehicle along Chinhoyi Street in Harare. The incident resulted in property damage and three pedestrians sustained injuries. Another commuter omnibus crashed along Gleneagles road in Harare after the driver lost control trying to avoid police spikes.

Metal spikes are increasingly being used to impede or stop vehicles believed to be flouting road regulations in most parts of the country. Since motorists drivers are left with damages some quite extensive when spikes are thrown at their vehicles, they have questioned the legality of their use. In March, Home Affairs deputy minister, Obendingwa Mguni said police officers should only use spikes to control traffic and not to the extent of endangering motorists and passengers. The minister also highlighted that the spikes should be laid, not thrown. A motorist has since lodged an application in the High Court challenging the use of spikes.

However, the use of spikes has worsened conflict between police officers and society as police officers have continued to cause mayhem with the use of spikes. There are surely other methods that police officers can use to follow up on motorists that flout road regulations. ZPP therefore urges police officers to fulfill their constitutional mandate, which is to protect lives and property.

Use of spikes wreaks havoc