A group of about five Police officers based at Charandura Police Station are in hot soup after a lawyer made a report that they were drinking beer and beating up people at a roadblock mounted at Chaka Business Centre near Mvuma on Sunday evening.
The matter has been reported at Masvingo Central Police Station under CR Number 70/08/17.
The drunk officers who refused to identify themselves as required by the law allegedly assaulted a man driving a South African registered Iveco minibus while his hands were handcuffed at his back. The Mirror is told that they also beat up Lucy Chivasa, a human rights lawyer with the Legal Resources Foundation when she tried to give the man who was being beaten her business card.
A soldier who was in military uniform fled the scene after he discovered that the man he had just assaulted at the road block was his senior in the Zimbabwe National Army. The Mirror is informed that the senior soldier who was a passenger in the Iveco disembarked after seeing a uniformed soldier beating up civilians alongside Police officers.
He then ordered the uniformed soldier to stop what he was doing but the former slapped the senior soldier. The Mirror is told that the youthful soldier fled the scene and boarded a haulage truck that was pulling out of the bus stop after his senior produced an identity card and showed him.
The officers are also accused of beating Chivasa’s young sister Lilian Idaishe Chivasa and another unidentified passenger for allegedly recording the beating and her phones were crushed on the tarmac.
Efforts to get a comment from Midlands Police Spokesprson, Ethel Mukwande were fruitless as she was out of her office. Chivasa confirmed the incident to The Mirror and described the Police officers’ behaviour as ghastly.
“They were openly drinking beer at the roadblock and they were obviously drunk. One officer was stopping cars while the others sat around a fire that they had made as they drank beer and this was around 10pm on Sunday,” said Chivasa.
She said that they were later told by people at the business centre that the officers at Chaka were notorious for drinking and beating up people.
Chivasa said the incident happened when the driver of the Iveco in which she and the soldier were passengers was stopped at the roadblock. The driver was ordered off the road and as he tried to park, a spike was thrown in front of his car and he was fortunate to stop just before he hit it.
One cop ran towards the car and tried to pull the key out of the key hole but the driver of the Iveco resisted and more officers joined and started assaulting him accusing him of having tried to assault a Police officer.
“They handcuffed him with his hands at the back and started assaulting him in that position. We were detained at the roadblock for more than one-and half hours until I and the senior soldier got weary and disembarked.
“Here was an example of human rights abuse and I felt I should give the guy my business card so that he could find me later as I wanted to find another transport to Masvingo.
“I identified myself to the Police and told them that I wanted to give my business card to this guy but they started shouting obscenities at me and said they were above the law and nothing would happen to them even if I assisted the guy.
“One of the Police officers flashed me with a huge torch he was holding so that I may not see him in the dark as he slapped me. They beat me up, my sister and another passenger.
“They were put aback when this senior soldier produced his identity card and they sort of got confused particularly when the young soldier in military uniform ran away,” said Chivasa.
The assaulted passengers only left the road block at around 1am after finding alternative transport. They went straight to Masvingo Central Police Station where they reported the case. The dockets were opened and the case is going to be referred to the Midlands Province.
It is understood that the senior soldier did not make a report but is pursuing the matter through military structures and The Mirror understands that it would not be difficult to account for the soldier who ran away from the roadblock. Radio VOP