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Police brutality riles ZPP

by Stephen Jakes
09 Jan 2020 at 07:06hrs | Views
Police brutality has riled the human rights watchdog, Zimbabwe Peace Project which said citizens have fallen victims to the security agents who are supposed to protect them.

"Police brutality and harassment is disturbing as it presents a scenario where the supposed citizens' protectors become a threat to the same citizens," ZPP said.

"On 12 December 2019, anti- riot police officers assaulted and apprehended vendors and members of the public in Harare CBD at Market Square."

ZPP said in the midst of street battles with vendors, police assaulted labour rights activist, Nation Mudzitirwa whom they spotted disembarking from renowned human rights lawyer, Douglas Coltart's vehicle.

"Mudzitirwa sustained serious injuries on the face, back and knees. Among the victims who were apprehended were six males and seven females. The police also forced Mudzitirwa into their vehicle and later released him without any charge, before getting to Harare Central Police Station," ZPP said.

It said in another case, on 24 December 2019, Abel Karowangoro, a Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) accredited journalist working for the Zimbabwe Morning Post was arrested in Harare's CBD. Karowangoro was apprehended by five anti-riot police officers while filming queues of pensioners battling to withdraw their money from banks.

"The police details took him to Harare Central Police Station where they interrogated and detained him before hisrelease. In a related incident, Blessing Chidakwa, a journalist with the Herald and accredited with the ZMC was detained by police officers on 25 December 2019 and was forced to delete footage he had recorded of police officers smashing windscreens of commuter omnibuses," said ZPP.

It said Chidakwa was manhandled by three police officers at Roadport bus terminus on Christmas Day.

"The officers dragged him to where their vehicle was parked and forced him to delete all the pictures he had taken. He did not resist for fear of being assaulted with baton sticks that the police were wielding," ZPP reported.

"He was only released after he threatened to notify the National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi of the incident.Politicians were not spared from police harassment as evidenced by a case where, anti-riot police officers harassed MDC ward 43 Councillor, Norman Makondo at Budiriro 5 shopping centre on 29 December 2019."

The organisation said the officers who were raiding vendors harassed Makondo for confronting them at the shopping centre.

"They took Makondo to Budiriro police station charging him with inciting public violence, by condemning their operation. Makondo was detained and interrogated for hours before being released," it said.


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