Shame on police

INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo

INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesman Paul Nyathi should be hanging their heads in shame as it emerges there is a court ruling declaring spot fines illegal.

Moyo, who has taken to social media like the proverbial duck to water, and Nyathi, came out guns blazing, angrily denouncing judge Justice Francis Bere for daring to speak out against the State-sanctioned extortion of motorists by police.

In his Facebook post, Moyo charged that Bere misdirected himself in the “judicial sentiment”, claiming it “is not in the interest of the law and justice” and was the learned judge’s personal view.

“With all respect to the honourable judge, it was wrong for him to use a public forum to make statements that sounded like a court ruling or judgment outside court; without a case before him; without examining competing facts; without hearing the affected or interested parties including ZRP and without hearing legal arguments from lawyers representing the contending parties in the issue.

“Justice Bere’s premature and misplaced speech has most probably irreparably harmed the prospect of having that test determined in favour of motorists whose jubilation is certain to be shortlived as they face continued grief on the treacherous roads,” Moyo, who supported the police, said.

On his part Chief Superintend Nyathi dared Bere: “. . .we want to point out that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Justice Bere’s statement is not binding on police operations.

As an organisation we view quoted comments as interference on the separation of powers between the Executive, Parliament and Judiciary.”

But it now turns out Bere is having the last laugh. As reported by this paper on Wednesday, there is a 2012 high court ruling to the effect that spot fines are illegal after a Bulawayo woman took the police to court.

Bere was simply doing his job, interpretation the law. Whoever is offering legal advice to the police should be summarily dismissed because he or she slept on duty on this matter. Both Moyo and Nyathi should be ashamed of themselves for displaying their ignorance of the law in public.

Since 2012 the police have been in defiance of the court which is a clear blatant violation of legal principles. It gives credence to claims the police are desperate for cash and want to continue with this trend of undermining the rule of law and replacing it with the rule of the jungle.