Motorist Accelerates To Concourt With Spot Fine Challenge

Harare, February 18, 2015 – A Zimbabwean motorist on Wednesday filed a
constitutional challenge in the Constitutional Court seeking an order
to stop the Zimbabwe Republic Police from demanding or compelling
motorists to pay fines on the spot as the police practice is invalid
and inconsistent with the Constitution.
In an application filed on by his lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupanga
and Bhatasara Legal Practitioners, who is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights, Andrew Makunura, wants the Constitutional Court to
grant an order declaring that the demand to pay a fine on the spot
from motorists by the police is constitutionally invalid as it
violates Makunura’s rights enshrined in Section 69 (1) and (3), 66,
68, 71 and 86 (3) of the Constitution.
Makunura had his driver’s licence confiscated at a roadblock mounted
by the police in Harare’s Glen Norah suburb on 12 February as he was
driving his children to school and taking his wife to work.
The police demanded that he pay a spot fine amounting to $10 for a
radio broadcasting licence which he allegedly failed to display on his
vehicle.
Makunura advised the police officers that he had no money on him and
asked to be allowed to leave and drop his children at school and pay
the fine later after giving them his residential address as well as
his work address.
But the police turned down his offer and insisted that he pays the
fine before they later released him and asked him to return and pay
the fine before lunchtime after spending more than one hour holed up
at the roadblock which resulted in his children arriving late at
school.
Makunura charged that by demanding that he pays the fine on the spot,
the police arrogated to themselves to be the complainant, prosecutor,
judge/jury and executioner and that his fundamental rights are likely
to be infringed by the police.
By confiscating his driver’s licence, the police, Makunura, who cited
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Police Commissioner General
Augustine Chihuri, Constable Agrippa Chinyama and Attorney General as
respondents charged, had infringed on his right to freedom of movement
protected under Section 66 of the Constitution.
The Harare motorist now wants the Constitutional Court to stop the
police and cease the demand compelling motorists to pay fines on the
spot and to declare any law, practice, custom or conduct by the police
allowing the demand or payment of a fine on the spot to be invalid to
the extent of its inconsistency with the Constitution.
High Court Judge Justice Francis Bere recently lashed out at the
police for demanding spot fines saying the practice was illegal.
However Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and the police claimed that
the practice was legal.