Think Zimbabwe's road fines are bad? Zambia's are 'WORSE'

2016-10-12 11:57


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Harare - If you thought the traffic fines were bad in Zimbabwe, those in neighbouring Zambia look even worse.

Road users in Zambia have been complaining about the heavy fine meted out to those judged guilty of 'obstruction of roadway' (parking badly): it's the equivalent of a whopping $90.

If you fail to display a license disc you're liable for a fine of around $45 at current exchange rates for the kwacha, according to a list of fines published by Zambia's Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) this year.

Road-users in Zimbabwe have been loud in their complaints against cash-hungry traffic police who man the many roadblocks dotted along the country's limited road network. At least one Facebook group has been set up to share news of fines and warn other users of possible instances of unscrupulous behaviour by traffic police (a ploy recorded this week is for police in a spot near Harare to use a speed camera that allegedly has a speeding offence pre-recorded on it).

Police in Zimbabwe can charge a maximum of $20 per "spot fine". But unfortunately some officers "group" fines together for a single driver so that the total amount he or she is forced to pay up is well above this sum. That's despite Zimbabwe's ongoing cash shortages, which have abruptly worsened this week.

But road police in Zambia are equally unpopular, judging from recent comments on the RTSA Facebook page.

A proposal this week from the agency to ban secondhand tyres in Zambia sounds remarkably similar to a Zimbabwe police clampdown on "biscuit" spare wheels, the solid wheels that are sold with many cars imported from Japan.

Zambians have accused the agency of forcing locals to buy from a single major tyre retailer. A Facebook user says: "But second hand cars from Japan come with second hand tyres. How about that?"

If it's any comfort to angry Zimbabwe drivers, it seems that it's not just traffic police in their country who have ready cash.

A transcript of a Zambian parliamentary debate from April has one MP stating: "Every child in the compounds longs to be a traffic officer’s son or daughter because it is only in those officers’ homes where the aroma of frying chicken can be smelt in the evening because traffic officers get money from offenders without issuing receipts."

Read more on:    zambia  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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