ZLHR protests against restrictions on movement over dereliction of duty by CVR

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Friday 21 January 2022 protested against restrictions imposed on some motorists by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers.

In a letter written to ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga on
Friday 21 January 2022, Paidamoyo Saurombe of ZLHR complained that law
enforcement agents were unnecessarily curtailing the movement of
motorists by targeting what they deemed “plateless, unregistered and
unlicensed” vehicles.

In a statement issued on 15 January 2022 and 19 January 2022, ZRP
stated that it had commenced an operation targeting some unregistered
vehicles and vehicles not displaying permanent number plates, which it
claimed were being used to commit robbery, murder, rape, kidnapping,
unlawful entry as well as hit and run road traffic accidents and told
motorists to park their vehicles until they obtain the necessary
registration process.

Saurombe told Matanga that the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) is
failing to allocate number plates to motorists despite the claim by
ZRP that there are sufficient stocks of vehicle number plates.

The human rights lawyer said it was grossly unreasonable for ZRP to
curtail the movement of motorists who have paid for registration
plates and were allocated temporary plates which they display together
with insurance cover on their vehicles.

Saurombe protested that there was needless harassment and
inconveniences at numerous ZRP check points despite the fact that
motorists had paid for number plates and the delay in issuance of
such, is not within their control but falls squarely on CVR.

He bemoaned that through its dragnet and arbitrary operation, ZRP is
labelling everyone without number plates as being criminal elements
committing gross acts such as armed robbery, kidnapping, unlawful
entry as well as hit and run road traffic accidents.

The dragnet operation, Saurombe said, is unduly and unreasonably
hindering the right to freedom of movement provided in Section 66 of
the Constitution and the right to administrative conduct that is
reasonable guaranteed in Section 68 of the Constitution and cannot be
justified in a democratic society.

The human rights lawyer asked ZRP to allow access to motorists who
have paid and can show proof of payment and insurance as required by
the law, their right to unhindered movement as CVR and the Ministry of
Transport and Infrastructure Development sorts out the challenges of
issuing number plates to all those that have already paid for the

Saurombe said if the restrictions on movement of motorists
necessitated by the dereliction of duty by CVR’s failure to timeously
issue out number plates continue, he will be left with no option but
to approach the courts for recourse against ZRP and other relevant
ministries to protect the rights of the public.

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