A 19-YEAR-OLD woman, Cecilia Mapako, died at a police roadblock in Nyanga on Monday, when the commuter omnibus ferrying her to hospital was allegedly detained for over an hour after the driver failed to pay a $15 spot fine.
According to Mapako’s husband, Lazarus Sakubende, who is employed as a commuter omnibus conductor, the deceased had a heart condition.
Mapako was referred to Parirenyatwa Hospital from Regina Coeli Mission Hospital.
“My wife was referred to Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare from Regina Coeli Mission Hospital. We took her in a commuter omnibus to Nyanga, where she was supposed to be taken to Harare by her brother,” Sakubende said.
He said upon arriving at Troutbek turnoff, police stopped the commuter omnibus and told the driver to pay a $15 fine.
Sakubende said they were kept at the roadblock for about an hour, as they failed to pay the required money.
“We were at the roadblock for about an hour, as police insisted that we should pay a fine. It was during that period that my wife’s condition deteriorated before passing on at the roadblock,” he said.
Sakubende said after the death of his wife, police officers manning the roadblock informed their Nyanga office about the incident and they came with a metal coffin to take the body to a mortuary.
Sakubende said he was furious, as they had pleaded with the police officers to let them go so his wife could get urgent medication, but all was in vain.
Since Monday, NewsDay has been inundated with phone calls from Nyanga, with many people expressing their anger at the police behaviour.
Police in Nyanga refused to shed light on the incident, referring all questions to Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa. Kakohwa said he was not in office and promised to check on the circumstances as soon as he got back.
Residents and tourists have for long been complaining about the police conduct at roadblocks. The High Court has ruled that spot fines are not mandatory, but police insist on motorists paying them.