FORMER Lupane West MDC-T MP Njabuliso Mguni yesterday filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order declaring the action of police officers, who impounded his vehicle after he refused to pay a spot fine, unlawful and demanding the release of his vehicle.
Mguni filed the application through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) lawyer, Lizwe Jamela.
“We filed an urgent chamber application seeking the release of Mguni’s vehicle and the declaration of police conduct in the matter as unlawful,” Jamela said.
“We are waiting for the confirmation of the hearing date.”
In his founding affidavit accompanying the application, Mguni cited the officer-in-charge traffic section Bulawayo district as the first respondent, officer commanding Bulawayo police and Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi as the second and third respondents respectively.
Mguni said he was driving the car, which belongs to Thembile Moyo, along 6th Avenue in the Bulawayo central business district
He said he was stopped at a roadblock by a police officer, who advised him that his third number plate was tampered with and for that reason he should pay a $20 fine.
“I was advised that I should pay an additional fine of $20 for an alleged missing rear number plate light and a further $10 for alleged missing front reflectors,” Mguni said.
“This gave a total of $50 in all.
“I advised the police officer, who was addressing me, whose particulars are unknown to me, that I did not have the said money in my possession.
“I requested a ticket to be issued against me so that I would be able to practice my lawful option as I was in no position to pay the fine so demanded.”
The former legislator said his request was dismissed by the officer, who insisted that the motor vehicle he was driving would be impounded until he paid the fine.
“I tried to explain that my vehicle was involved in an accident and I had just collected it from the panel beaters on my way to rectify any anomalies that could have been on the vehicle,” he said.
“I requested time to remedy the anomalies and my request was further turned down. The police officer then got into the vehicle and instructed me to drive my vehicle and park it at Bulawayo Traffic Section, usually referred to as Drill Hall.
“When I got there, I was ordered to hand over the car keys and advised that the vehicle had been impounded until such a time I would have secured and paid the demanded $50.”
Mguni said when he was leaving the station he asked what he was being charged with.
“One police officer quickly tore a dirty small piece of paper and scribbled something on it,” he said.
“I was given this dirty paper, which simply indicated what I was supposed to pay for the vehicle to be released.”
Mguni said he sought legal advice from lawyers and they told him to take legal action against the police officers, as the conduct of the officers was unlawful.
He said the lawyer accompanied him to the police to seek clarity on the issue, but this was fruitless and the police officers were not interested in listening to him, but wanted the $50 paid.
“I am left with no choice, but to approach this honourable court for relief,” he said.
“The conduct of the respondents is not supported by law.
“As I stand, my right to the protection of law is being violated and the conduct of the respondents is grossly arbitrary.
“As it stands, I have not been charged with any offence.”