Dad and son arrested for setting up illegal bush police roadblock. Mangezi Sithole (48) and his offspring, 24-year-old Talent Sithole, who are both members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Neighbourhood Watch Committee stationed at Karoi Rural, appeared before Karoi magistrate Felix Chauromwe on Friday.
A Karoi man and his son have been dragged to court for allegedly mounting an unsanctioned roadblock where they demanded bribes. The duo was charged with contravening Section 174, or alternatively Section 134, which relate to criminal abuse of duty and extortion, respectively.
The pair was not asked to plead and was remanded in custody to 13 August for routine remand. The complainant in the matter is Peter Kanyungwa (31), a kombi operator. Prosecutor Gerald Dhamusi said on 28 July this year, at around 2:30 pm, the complainant who owns a kombi, loaded 16 passengers and proceeded towards Magororo in Magunje.
Kanyungwa drove along Karoi-Chirundu highway heading towards Magunje but diverted off the main road to avoid a police roadblock mounted at the 204-kilometre peg.
After driving for about three kilometres along a detour dust road that passes through farms, the complainant was stopped by the Sitholes, who wore ZRP uniforms and were armed with batons. Both accused persons allegedly demanded from Kanyungwa US$20 to allow him passage, accusing him of operating in contravention of COVID-19 regulations. The complainant however indicated he could pay US$10, and pleaded for the duo to accept it.
However, the father and son team refused to back down, and as they haggled over the bribe, Kanyungwa phoned the Karoi Traffic officer-in-charge only identified as Inspector Shari.
Insp Shari teamed up with district police commander, Chief Superintendent Helena Mahonde, who rushed to the scene. Upon arrival, the police bosses arrested the Sitholes and took them to Karoi Urban police station.
It was later established that the pair had, two days earlier, mounted another illegal roadblock on the same road stretch where they extorted US$17 from Kanyungwa who, however, never lodged a formal police report.