Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Police tightlipped on civilian shooting, killings

By Prince Butawo and Maynard Manyowa

Harare – The Zimbabwe Republic Police has remained tight lipped on the killing of two unarmed civilians and the injuring of four others by members of their force on February 22 this year.

Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga (centre), flanked by Deputy Commissioner-General Levy Sibanda and Deputy Commissioner-General (Crime) Josephine Shambare, addresses a Press conference on disturbances that rocked Harare on Thursday night. —(Picture by Shelton Muchena)
Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga (centre), flanked by Deputy Commissioner-General Levy Sibanda and Deputy Commissioner-General (Crime) Josephine Shambare, addresses a Press conference on disturbances that rocked Harare on Thursday night. —(Picture by Shelton Muchena)

Violent skirmishes erupted on February 22, after police attempted to enforce a ban on commuter omnibuses in the city center of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

In the ensuing scuffles, police shot dead two people, while injuring four others.

“Police officers fired shots that unfortunately killed two people and injured four others.” police chief Godwin Matanga told journalists during a media briefing on the 23rd of February held at Police General Headquarters.

At the briefing police promised to shed more light on exactly what transpired, amid questions whether police had used live ammunition, if the offending officer would be suspended, expelled or charged with murder, and under whose orders the civilians were shot.

But, almost a month later police have remained mum on the incident.

Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba declined to comment over the phone but requested Khuluma Afrika to send questions in writing to the police.

Questions were sent to the police’s PR email address but not responded to.

Upon following up, police stated that they could only respond and discuss this particular matter in writing since it involves the force and is ‘sensitive’.

The silence has generated a lot of unease, raising concerns that the officer who pulled the trigger may escape consequences, and that the matter may be conveniently swept under the carpet and forgotten.

Khuluma Afrika was unable to reach relatives of the victims to confirm if they had received any kind of financial assistance from the state.

  • This report appears on Khuluma Afrika – a center for investigative journalism based in Zimbabwe
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