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Matibiri denies reports of human rights abuse in Chiadzwa by police

by Staff reporter
11 Apr 2018 at 07:18hrs | Views
DEPUTY Commissioner-General of Police Innocent Matibiri on Monday vehemently denied claims by civic society that members of the police force were involved in human rights abuses in Chiadzwa.

Matibiri had appeared before the Temba Mliswa-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to speak on police activities in Chiadzwa when he was questioned by Mutasa Central MP Trevor Saruwaka over the allegations of human rights abuses of people in the diamond-rich Chiadzwa area by the police.

"In 2005 when the police were deployed there were reports by civic society groups indicating that the period was characterised by violence and killings of ordinary Zimbabweans, yet you are saying you successfully executed that operation. During Operation Hakudzokwi, can you tell us how many Zimbabweans were killed or maimed because there was a report which criticised the conduct of the police," Saruwaka asked Matibiri?

The police boss denied the accusations, but instead claimed that the civic groups that peddled the issue of human rights abuses by the police were trying to ensure the Kimberly Certification Process condemned Zimbabwe's diamonds as 'blood diamonds'.

"What happened during that period was that we wanted to sell our diamonds and we had to go through the KCP, but our traditional enemies wanted to ensure that Zimbabwe does not sell its diamonds and they went on to stage manage the human rights abuses," Matibiri said.

"If there is any iota of evidence that the security services did anything wrong, I am there to respond to it, and what I know was that there was lawlessness by illegal panners and some of them were very violent that they would pounce on anyone on a rich diamond concession," he said.

Matibiri continued: "We had to deal with those panners because at the end of the day we did not want our diamonds to be labelled blood diamonds. There was no violence and I totally dispute that. We were given instructions on how we were supposed to conduct ourselves," he said.

Saruwaka then asked him to explain the conviction of one police officer (superintendent Chani) for human rights abuses, in Chiadzwa and was sentenced to 18 years.

"His conviction shows that as police we severely dealt with officers who abused office. He was a good example. He got too emotional and as a result we arrested him. I am sure we should be applauded for doing a good job," Matibiri replied.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kembo Mohadi is expected to appear on Friday before the committee to speak on diamond issues during his stint as Minister of National Security.

Glen View MP Fani Munengami had asked former Central Intelligence Organisation boss Happyton Bonyongwe to speak on issues of CIO dealings with a Chinese man Sam Pa, but Mliswa said it would be part of the questions directed to Mohadi when he appears before the committee for grilling.

Source - newsday