By Marshal Bwanya
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has reportedly installed traffic surveillance video cameras as a measure to mitigate the growing road violations by reckless motorists.
The video installation programme is still at infancy stage with only two different locations corner Sam Nujoma and Churchill Avenue, and corner Samora and Enterprise having the cameras installed already.
Harare province police spokesperson Webster Dzvova said they were embracing new innovative technologies to enforce the law and curb road violations by negligent motorists.
“Harare province police has embraced technology like any other contemporary organisation. We are moving with the times partnering with our stakeholders in an endeavour to fight crime.
“ZRP Avondale partnered with their community stakeholders in installing CCTV at corner Sam Nujoma and Churchill Avenue.
“Now, the officer in charge ZRP Avondale can watch what is happening at the intersection whilst in his office,” he said.
Dzvova also noted that police were embarking on a new approach of patrolling with cameras in the CBD capturing footage of motorists committing road violations they would later follow up and hold accountable with video evidence of the crimes.
“In Harare CBD, we have started taking videos and photographs of pirate taxis popularly known as mushika–shikas and commuter omnibuses and riders on wings/ bumpers.
“With the video footage we capture on our various operations as police we then make follow ups with the owners and fine them for the road violations committed by their vehicles,” he said.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) recently produced a report on government surveillance noting that the use of closed-circuit cameras to promote safety in public spaces and roads is not new and would not be unique to Zimbabwe.
However, the MISA report bemoaned that Zimbabwe, unlike South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom, does not have an adequate data protection regime to ensure that the massive data collected by the proposed surveillance programme is not abused or misused.
The MISA report noted that: “Section 57 of the Constitution guarantees the right to privacy. The use of surveillance cameras and the processing of the data collected must, therefore, be within the confines of the constitutional right to privacy.”
Zimbabwe’s supposed ally China has been known for its extensive use of surveillance cameras to curb political dissent.