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Fund-raising? Mugabe approves hike in traffic fines

If driving in Zimbabwe wasn’t enough of a headache already, here’s something more to put you off: President Robert Mugabe has just approved a hike in traffic fines.

Police roadblocks put off tourists and send local drivers’ blood pressure shooting up – not least because of the creativity with which the police appear to invent new offences.

“Motorists will now have to fork out more in traffic fines following the coming into force of a new scale of fines to be imposed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police.”

“The coming into effect of the new scale of fines followed the signing into law by President Mugabe of the Finance Act last week,” the paper added.

In many cases that will mean that where traffic police once demanded $20 for a traffic offence, they can now demand $30. Four fines of this level grouped together (not unheard of in Harare) will now come to $120.

That’s on the spot. And sadly, there are normally no swipe machines in sight.

The Facebook group Dear ZRP, which has managed to amass nearly 30 000 members, carries stories of frustrated drivers fined for obscure offences like “dirty exhausts” or “splayed springs”.

It’s widely believed that police have set targets of money they have to raise.

Commented one Chronicle reader at news of the increased fines late on Wednesday: “Bribes shall prevail.”

In February a cop caught demanding a bribe from a driver whose car had been impounded at a roadblock tried to swallow the money.

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