A row has erupted after Clyna Trading officials in Karoi offered $5 to buy cabbages for the funeral of a woman who died after being hit by a vehicle the firm’s officers threw a spike at on Tuesday.
Clyna Trading is in partnership with Karoi Town Council to manage traffic in the town. The firm delivered $5 to buy cabbages, two drums of water, 11 loaves of bread and meat on Wednesday towards the funeral of Mrs Chiedza Mandizvidza (59).
But this did not go down well with the family, which is blaming the company for the death of their relative after she was hit while the driver was trying to avoid running over the spikes.
Sources said a row erupted between the family and Clyna Trading over the “meagre” assistance, resulting in the firm offering another $30 towards the purchasing of relish.
“It was after family members enquired how the mourners would be fed on $5, that another $30 was handed over yesterday,” said the source. The firm promised to provide $500 to meet all the funeral expenses, which it had not delivered by yesterday.
Police fired shots in the air and teargas canisters in Karoi on Tuesday to disperse a mob that torched a council vehicle in protest against the death of a woman hit by a car at which council workers had thrown spikes. In an attempt to evade the spikes, the driver of the vehicle ploughed into pedestrians, resulting in the death of the woman and injury to three of her relatives.
Another pedestrian was injured as the vehicle spiralled out of control. This is set to reignite debate on the use of spikes, which has largely centred on the police, the Vehicle Inspection Department and councils. The incident is said to have been caused by council traffic management workers who allegedly threw the spikes on the moving car.
The angry mob went on to stone and set on fire on the vehicle where two of the council workers who had used the spikes sought refuge. Those hit by the car included the now deceased Mrs Chiedza Mandizvidza (59) of Chiedza Township in Karoi and her son Patrick (31), who is admitted at Karoi District Hospital after sustaining a fractured pelvis. Patrick is now unable to walk or pass urine due to the injuries.
Mrs Mandizvidza’s grandsons aged 13 and 17 were also injured in the incident.
The Government has written to the police giving the force the green light to use spikes and guns to stop vehicles only in extreme cases of criminality, but ordered the implementation of an earlier instruction to reduce the number of roadblocks.
Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said yesterday that he wrote to Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri with the instructions following complaints received by his ministry from the public.
“The ministry received several reports concerning roadblocks which are said to be very close to each other,” he said. Dr Chombo said he told Dr Chihuri and his team to rationalise the roadblocks. “For example, in Epworth as a district, there should be at least two roadblocks that are at distances that are reasonable,”he said.
Dr Chombo said the use of spikes came into effect after several police officers were being ran over by kombi drivers trying to evade roadblocks. “However, what we are saying now is that these roadblocks (rationalised ones) should have spikes,” he said. “Both guns and spikes should only be used in extreme cases at these roadblocks and that is the advice given to the police by the Government.
Dr Chombo said they had noted that there were some places, especially in rural areas, where spikes were unnecessary.
THE anti-spikes war pitting motorists and the police has spilled into the High Court with a human rights activist seeking an order declaring the practice of deflating vehicle tyres unconstitutional.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association director Mr Okay Machisa has filed an application at the High Court challenging the constitutionality of the practice, which has the potential of damaging property, injuring or killing people.
The challenge has been filed at a time when the issue is a subject for debate at all levels.
Recently, a heated debate arose in Parliament over the use of deflating devices by the police with most legislators slamming the police.
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