Political Reporter

Heated debate on the use of spikes by the Zimbabwe Republic Police raged in the parliament of Zimbabwe recently, after members of the House of Assembly registered their resentment over their use on motorists.

Member of parliament (MP) Watson questioned the Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obendingwa Mguni  how he felt about their policy[Home Affairs ministry] for the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to use large metal bars with spikes as lethal weapons rather than the control of traffic and the improvement of road safety.  

According to the Deputy Minister, spikes, boom-gates and walls are under the column of security barriers to control traffic or human beings. “It is vital to control traffic or human beings.  It is vital for police or any security organ to use the spike to prevent vehicles from parking in that area or going through the road that the spike is laid on.  Therefore, you are controlling traffic,” said Mguni.

The issue of the spike has been an emotive one. Zimbabweans have complained saying their use on moving vehicle has endangered motorists and passengers on public vehicles. The dispute that has come across Zimbabweans is that when do the police put the spikes on the road because some people say they throw it on the vehicles.  

John Holder MP for Zvishavane-Ngezi asked whether it was in the Police Act that the police carry spikes in terms of the specifications, length and the way they are laid.  “Are they in conformity with that because a spike looks like a weapon?” asked Holder

“They are there,” Responded the Deputy Minister, “The dispute is about how to use it and that the police officer must lay the spike down.  Even a security guard is allowed to lay it in a no parking area so that you do not park your car on that area.  It is a warning sign.”

“I went to Bulawayo three days ago to see exactly whether the police throw or put spikes.  I saw the police laying the spike down and I saw the taxi driver running over the spike.  It is the Parliament that has to alert and educates the drivers to follow the rules because they are carrying people. You cannot run away from a ten dollar fine, run over the spike and sacrifice the lives of eighteen people.  We need to educate our drivers on spikes,” said Mguni.

The deputy ministered explained to the house that if a police officer was running behind the taxi with a spike throwing it, it is not allowed.  “A spike is laid on the ground as I explained, as a security barrier but one cannot throw an object on a moving vehicle.  If that has happened, we need to discipline that officer because that is not allowed because it causes other damages like breaking the windows.” He said.

However, Warren Park Member of parliament Alias Mudzuri chided members of parliament for getting excited and clapping hands over death traps [spikes] which are being put on our people.He said it is not proper to find somebody excited and clapping hands over something that has threatened our people’s life. “It is not fair.” He said.