At least 10 Harare motorists have dragged Harare mayor, Benard Manyenyeni to the High Court through an urgent chamber application seeking the release of their impounded vehicles.
BY CHARLES LAITON
They are arguing council officials were illegally and corruptly charging unjustified fees.
The motorists said Harare City Council had decided to raise money through illegal and corrupt means and was charging unwarranted fees through what they called “storage”.
This they said, was being done by the council officials who were at times refusing to accept the actual fines, forcing motorists’ vehicles to accrue more days at the council’s Central Stores complex.
The motorists, whose vehicles were impounded in the central business district said they were forced to admit to various offences which they did not commit and after refusing to pay “bribes” , their vehicles were towed away to the Central Stores.
A Harare lawyer, Phillip Mbano, who deposed an affidavit confirming the urgency of the case, said the respondents in the matter, cited as member-in-charge Harare Municipal Stores, the town clerk, the chief security officer and Manyenyeni, were taking the law into their own hands.
“The respondents [city officials] have taken the law into their hands and deprived the applicants [10 motorists] of their vehicles, albeit illegally and corruptly,” Mbano said.
“The respondents have also denied the applicants a chance to pay the ‘illegal fees’ in order to ensure that the applicants’ vehicles accrue more days in their Central Stores, in order to ensure that the applicants will part ways with much more [money].
“The applicants’ vehicles are accruing storage at the rate of $17 per day. Many will even find it hard to pay [such an amount] in a hotel per day. This is atrocious and brutal and not expected in a democratic society.”
The lawyer added: “It boggles one’s mind on the direction we are heading to, if surely this rot cannot be stopped.”
Through their lawyer Norman Mugiya, the motorists said they were seeking for an order barring city council officials from “forcing them to admit to offences against their will and contrary to the law” and an immediate release of their impounded vehicles.
The matter is set to be heard by High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere tomorrow.