It is illegal for Police to seize drivers’ licence at road blocks’


It is illegal and not procedural for police officers manning roadblocks to take a motorist’s driver’s licence, a court heard yesterday.

This was said during the trial of activist Promise Mkwananzi, who was facing charges of holding a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle on a public road and failure to comply with instructions given by police officer.

Mkwananzi was represented by Marufu Mandevere when he appeared before Harare magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta.


The first count of “holding a cellphone while driving a motor vehicle on a public road” was withdrawn by State after conceding that there was no basis to continue with the charge.

In response to Mkwananzi’s application to have the matter removed from remand, prosecutor Devotion Nyagano responded:

It is illegal for a police officer to take the accused person’s licence . however, the accused person was at fault for refusing to comply when police officers asked to see his licence just to verify if it was genuine or not”.

Mandevere argued that his client had only refused to have the cops confiscate his licence.

The matter was subsequently deferred to October 7 for ruling.

The State alleged that on September 20, this year, Mkwananzi drove along Samora Machel Avenue due east and approached the traffic-controlled intersection at Leopold Takawira Street.

The court heard that there were four cops on duty and one of them noticed Mkwananzi holding his cell phone seeming to be scrolling through messages while driving.

Mkwananzi stopped before the traffic lights and one sergeant Masaire approached him and pronounced him arrested.