Police chief Augustine Chihuri’s wife, Isabel, is embroiled in a row with a former tenant whom she alleges absconded from the rented house in Greendale, Harare without paying outstanding rentals and leaving it in a filthy condition.
According to the NewsDay paper, Esnath Zuze, is furious with Isabel Chihuri whom she alleges instigated her abduction and detention overnight at the house at which she had been a tenant since 2007.
Through her lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, instructed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Zuze accused Chihuri of illegally detaining her for 24 hours under armed police guard, while ordering her to clean up the house.
“I was engaged by ZLHR to help the woman, who had been detained on Monday morning at the alleged behest of Mrs Chihuri,” Mtetwa was quoted as saying.
“I went to the scene and confirmed that indeed she was there under guard.
“I spoke to the police details at the scene, who told me that they were from Morris Depot, and I spoke to their superiors, who confirmed that they were told to ensure she (Zuze) cleaned the house to the satisfaction of Mrs Chihuri.”
Mtetwa said she then informed the police officers that she was going to lodge an urgent High Court application to have the woman released, as what was happening was tantamount to kidnapping.
“They then called back, saying they would not want the case to go to court, hence, they were releasing her,” Mtetwa said.
She said Zuze claimed she was forced to sleep at the house and only leave when she had cleaned up the place, although her relatives were allowed to bring her food and cleaning detergents.
“Her relatives told us that they went to Harare Central Police Station to make a report of abduction, but the officers there refused to record the case, leaving them with no option, but to come to ZLHR,” Mtetwa said.
However, police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba denied that Zuze was detained, insisting she was only told to clean up the house she had left in a filthy state after being evicted for non-payment of rentals.
“She is now trying to seek public sympathy by lying and soiling the image of the police commander. That is very wrong. She did not only leave the house without paying rentals, but she left it dirty,” Charamba said.
“In fact, when she left the house, she did not inform anyone, but left it unguarded. She left the keys with a third party, hence, the police were sent to guard the house.”
Charamba said Zuze who had been Chihuri’s tenant since 2007 should have told her landlady when she was vacating the house instead of leaving it unsecured.
It is alleged that after leaving the house, police officers followed Zuze to her workplace in town on Monday morning and forcibly took her back to the house, where she was ordered to clean up her “dirt” allegedly to the satisfaction of Chihuri, who could not be reached for comment.