Harare – A Zimbabwe Republic Policeman has been run over and killed by an unlicensed minibus taxi driver, state radio reported.
News of the tragedy came after the force defended its unpopular policing of the roads, and said its officers work under “very dangerous and life threatening circumstances”.
ZBC reported that minibus conductor Archie Kundainazvo, 23, was behind the wheel without a licence in Chinhoyi on Tuesday night when he allegedly tried to escape from police and ran over an officer.
Kundainazvo will face several charges, including culpable homicide, police spokesperson Paul Nyathi was quoted as saying.
On Wednesday the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said its officers sometimes had to face drivers who were “wild, aggressive and never respect road rules and regulations”.
In a statement, the police also accused a state newspaper of publishing “falsehoods” to “trash the good work of the ZRP”.
This was after the Herald on Monday reported a huge spike in road traffic accidents, from around 45 000 in 2015 to nearly 160 000 in 2016. The figures were gleaned from the most recent digest of statistics published by the state statistics agency (Zimstat).
The revelation was seen as a blow to police arguments that their numerous roadblocks and checkpoints curb traffic accidents.
The police statement said accidents had actually fallen from 41 494 in 2015 to 38 620 in 2016, and that the figures cited by the Herald were false.
“Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency authorities have completely disowned the published figures which are aimed at causing alarm and despondency,” the statement reads.
Journalists could face arrest for “misinforming the public”, the police warned.