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Slain man's family pushes for private investigator

by Staff reporter
05 Jun 2020 at 09:01hrs | Views
HE family of a Bulawayo man fatally shot by the police in May, is pushing for the involvement of private investigators in the matter after expressing fears that there "is something the police want to hide".

Paul Munakopa succumbed to police gunshot injuries after admission at a local hospital on May 20 following a high-speed chase in Hillside, Bulawayo.

Munakopa's family disputes the police version that the deceased, who was in the company of his girlfriend, ignored orders to stop, leading to officers opening fire.

The officer who shot Munakopa has not been identified or arrested with police only saying investigations were underway.

The deceased's family, through their lawyer Nqobani Sithole, have now written to the police demanding a thorough probe and an involvement of third-party experts in the investigations to ensure justice is delivered.

"The long and short of it is that the family is concerned about the investigations and they strongly believe there is something that the police want
to hide. Firstly, the family questions why after the shooting, the vehicles involved were removed from the scene. They feel it was designed to destroy the evidence," Sithole told Southern Eye yesterday.

"Further, they have not been told what has been happening in terms of investigations and who the culprits are. They (family) believe that if they can hire third parties to reconstruct the scene to carry out ballistic evaluation it will go a long way to serve justice for the young man.

"Also, there are questions why the matter is being investigated as sudden death. They (family) don't see eagerness of the police to investigate the matter as murder . . . that is when they approached us to assist."

The opposition has also called on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to institute an inquiry into the fatal shooting.

IIlos Nyoni, MDC Alliance legislator for Bulawayo East where Munakopa was shot, citing section 48(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, argued "the murder of Munakopa by police operatives is a clear violation of the right to life and a failure to do one's duties."

Bulawayo homicide police have referred the matter to their superiors in the capital, according to the city's officer-in-charge of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) one Detective Chief Inspector K Chibira in a letter to the deceased's family lawyers.

"We acknowledge receipt of your letter referenced Mr Sithole/Im and dated June 2. We, however, advise that we have referred this matter to Police General Headquarters, who will contact you in due course. In the interim, any further correspondence on this matter should be addressed to Police General Headquarters for the attention of the legal adviser," Chibira wrote.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the matter was under investigation.

There has been outcry over the fatal shooting of Munakopa as police brutality escalated during the extended COVID-19 lockdown period.

Six police officers have since been arrested for brutally assaulting two sisters from Bulawayo's Cowdray Park for allegedly violating the COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Churches have warned of civil unrest if acts of police brutality against citizens under the cover of enforcing COVID-19 lockdown measures continue unabated.

Source - newsday