Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga has banned outlawed the use of hand held metal spikes by law enforcements agents following massive protests over the unnecessary loss of lives and injuries caused by the reckless practice.
On 6 May 2022, Kelvin Kabaya and Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), wrote a letter to ZRP requesting the law enforcement agency to immediately investigate the unwarranted use of metal spikes by police officers. The letter to ZRP was written after some police officers recklessly threw some metal spikes on an alleged speeding commuter omnibus in Mutare, which led to a fatal road traffic accident, loss of lives and injuries to some commuters. Kabaya and Tavagadza protested that the actions of police officers in spiking an alleged speeding vehicle were reckless, needless and exposed innocent women, men and school children to serious harm and unnecessary loss of life.
The conduct of ZRP officers, the human rights lawyers said, clearly violated the victims’ rights to human dignity and bodily integrity as defined in Sections 51 and 52 of the Constitution respectively and also violated the deceased persons’ right to life protected under Section 48 of the Constitution.
In apparent response to the protests against the abuse and use of metal spikes, Matanga on Friday 13 May 2022 published a press statement wherein he instantaneously banned ZRP officers from using hand held metal spikes while performing some traffic enforcement duties.
Matanga warned that any police officer who defies his directive would be arrested and prosecuted including facing stern disciplinary action. Matanga said ZRP officers will only stick to the use of standard and approved spikes as the norm at conventional roadblocks and checkpoints and where the spikes will be laid down on the ground with certified specifications to assist police officers to control motorists who try to evade roadblocks.