HARARE – After an exposé by the Daily News revealing rampant corruption in the police force, kombis plying the Harare City-Warren Park route are now under fire from traffic cops.
On Wednesday traffic cops were camped at the Chinhoyi bus termini as they tightened the screws against drivers who reported their peers to police superiors for alleged corruption.
Five officers have been arrested in connection with the corruption.
Yesterday residents of Warren Park watched in horror as speeding kombis were chased by police officers.
There is also an outcry over the way police officers chase around kombis in congested streets.
The latest operation by the police has riled kombi drivers and operators.
The scam, code named ‘Tora Mari United’, entails that kombi drivers — who do not want to pay an exorbitant, unreceipted spot fines — make a daily payment of $5 as a “tollgate” fee.
A normal day for kombi drivers like Fungai Banda starts with a courtesy call to a tout whose sole purpose is to receive $5 per kombi.
Banda yesterday said the police are making it difficult for them to operate.
“Since Tuesday police have intensified a clampdown on us. When they stop you at a roadblock and see that you have Warren Park permit they accuse you of having initiated the arrest of their colleagues and make sure that they fine you heavily,” said Banda.
Those who refuse to pay the “tollgate” fee, pay heavily on the roadblocks with cops demanding a bribe of $10 or a receipt of $15 to $20 for various defects — even when there are no defects.
The apprehension of the five police officers is apparently just a tip of the iceberg with kombi drivers alleging that the practice is widespread.
“We are being milked daily by these police officers and now it’s worse. We have alerted assistant commissioner Charity Charamba and she says she is going to look into the matter,” said Banda.
When called to comment, Charamba said she was in a bank, later she said she was driving and efforts to talk to her again proved fruitless as her mobile phone was unavailable.