By Swithern Chirowodza
A police officer at Bulawayo’s Sauerstown Police Station is in trouble for posting a statement on Facebook that allegedly undermines the authority of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Constable Pepukai Makwenjere was arrested on 5 February 2019 and is yet to appear in court. He is also charged with Contravening Section 48 of the Police Act, which bars serving officers from taking part in active politics and will attend an internal police hearing at Southampton Building today.
The alleged offensive statement, which has neither been made known to Constable Makwenjere nor the press, caused “Assistant Inspector Machokoto under the instruction of Chief Inspector Dhlamini who is in charge of Sauerstown” Police Station to arrest the accused at his residence in Sauerstown Police Station .
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Inspector Precious Simango refused to comment on Constable Makwenjere’s arrest.
“It’s a matter of policy. I do not comment on the arrest of police officers. Please phone Harare,” said Inspector Simango.
Despite his arrest, Constable Makwenjere who rumour holds lost his biological mother to Zanu PF violence in Bikita, did not shy away from commenting on his predicament.
“My biggest crime is that Assistant Inspector Justin Tiriyo who is in charge of Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) at ZRP Sauerstown is accusing me of being a member of MDC Alliance,” said Constable Makwenjere.
Assistant Inspector Tiriyo’s “key witnesses are Constable Tafa and Constable Chaanoda both stationed at Sauerstown and are members of PISI section,” continued Makwenjere.
While speaking to Nehanda Radio, Constable Makwenjere was fearful of being harmed.
“If the story is not published as early as possible I will be harmed or anything bad will happen because I was verbally threatened by (Assistant Inspector) Tiriyo on several occasions,” said the police officer.
Constable Makwenjere is represented by Godfrey Nyoni of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. He alleges that police denied him access to medical care.
The accused also alleges that he was barred “time to seek lawyers” and further claimed his phone was sabotaged after his arrest.
“So far I am detained and all my contacts were deleted so I don’t have any number,” he said.
At the end of yesterday, jailers took Constable Makwenjere to the dreaded Fairbridge Police Station – a place where junior officers checked by internal ZRP disciplinary hearings suffer their punishment.
Fairbridge holds “convicts” from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands.
“I am going to Fairbridge and I will be killed. It’s over for me,” lamented Constable Makwenjere. Nehanda Radio