Court hears Zim cellphone driving case
MOBILE| Aug. 6, 2012, 7:59 a.m.
By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabweans caught using a mobile phone while driving cannot be prosecuted under the country’s present laws, says a High Court judge in a landmark judgement.
Justice Maphios Cheda said police were empowered to impose a fine not exceeding USD200 for serious breaches.
“There is no specific penalty for contravening Section 16B (1) (a) of Statutory Instrument 299/2002 (using a mobile phone while driving but, such penalty is found in the proviso of Section 81 (5) of the Road Traffic Act, Chapter 13:11, which states that no such penalty shall exceed a fine of level 5 or imprisonment for a period of six months or both such fine and such imprisonment,” said the judge in the case of Zaine Babbage.
Babbage was arrested using a cellphone while driving on 23 January last year. Bulawayo provincial magistrate Sikhumbuzo Nyathi sentenced him to 14 days in prison without the option of a fine.
In his Notice of Appeal filed by his lawyer, Mr Charles Paul Moyo, of Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners, Babbage argued that the sentence imposed was so manifestly excessive that it ‘induced a sense of shock’.
Justice Cheda said after consulting Mr Whisper Mabaudhi of the Attorney-General’s Office, he was advised that the practice of sending cellphone offenders to court was adopted after a meeting between the provincial police command and the provincial judicial committee upon realising that motorists continued to commit the offence.
“However, the practice, despite its good intention, is unlawful as the two provincial structures have no legal authority to alter or amend the provisions of an existing legislation. Such duty is the domain of the legislature or the designated minister.
Justice Cheda said the correct legal position, which should be followed by the relevant authorities, is that where a motorist is caught using a cellphone, he should be issued with a ticket to pay a fine.
The judgment handed down on Justice Cheda’s behalf last Thursday by Justice Lawrence Kamocha, who concurred with the judgement.
MORE MOBILE NEWS
African mobile subscriber numbers pass half a billionMore than half a billion people across Africa are now subscribed to mobile services as the continent continues to migrate rapidly to mobile broadband networks, reveals a new GSMA study. Read More
Vodacom Tanzania deploys PeerApp content-delivery solutionPeerApp, the leading provider of local content-delivery solutions for mobile, telco and cable operators, has announced the sale of its UltraBand content-caching solution to Vodacom Tanzania, the largest wireless telecommunications network, by subscribers, in Tanzania. Vodacom Read More
Etisalat complies with NCC directive on Do-Not-Disturb codeEtisalat Nigeria has introduced the ‘Do-not-Disturb’ (DND) facility that enables customers on its network to opt-out completely or partially from receiving unsolicited marketing text messages and calls. Read More
MTN Rwanda launches Damarara promoMTN Rwanda has announced the launch of its customer loyalty promotion dubbed ‘Damarara’, which is designed to reward MTN customers based on the usage of MTN products and services. Read More
Tigo appoints Director for Tigo BusinessTelecom brand of the year Tigo has appointed Stephen Essien as the new director for its enterprise unit, Tigo Business. Read More
Apollo Hospitals and Airtel bring expert healthcare to AfricaApollo Hospitals, the largest healthcare group from India, and Airtel Africa, a leading telecom operator with operations in 16 countries in Africa, signed an MoU to enhance healthcare cooperation across Africa. Read More
Telkom Kenya launches new entry-level smartphoneTelkom Kenya has expanded its phone portfolio with the launch of the new Kaduda Smart into the market. Read More
MTN Cameroon suspends non-compliant numbersMTN Cameroon has suspended unidentified subscriber numbers to fully comply with Decree 2015/3759 of 03 September 2015. Read More
MTN Ghana present prizes to 20TH Anniversary Promo WinnersMTN Ghana has presented the first batch of prizes to winners of its 20th Anniversary promotion in Accra. Read More
FEATURED STORYFirst-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludes
Ten fintech companies have concluded the first-ever Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in Africa.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHEthical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a job
Botswana ethical hacking students report that they are failing to break into the local job market.