Judge slams police ‘brutality’
A HIGH Court judge has slammed the police for exhibiting “hooliganism” and “brutality” in the execution of their duties in violation of the Constitution.
Justice Hlekani Mwayera said police brutality and violence had no place in a democratic society such as Zimbabwe.
She urged police to uphold human rights all the time.
The judge made the remarks as she sentenced six policemen from Shamva found guilty of fatally assaulting a man accused of stealing a wallet belonging to the wife of a then officer-in-charge.
Ex-Inspector Aspias Shumba’s wife reportedly lost a wallet containing $100 to robbers in 2012.
Police details were deployed to investigate and allegedly beat up the main suspect, Luxmore Chivambo.
The court found Shumba and five others guilty of negligently causing the death of Chivambo.
Having found the six guilty of culpable homicide, Justice Mwayera sentenced Shumba and other two chief culprits— Motion Jakopo and Simon Mafunda to four years in jail each.
Three others, Michael Makwalo, Bennedict Tapfuma and Blessing Saidi, were slapped with a wholly suspended sentence.
However, Lee Makope, who was part of the investigating officers, was acquitted after the State failed to prove his involvement in the killing.
Justice Mwayera attacked the police for their violent behaviour.
“The policemen instead of leading by example as law enforcement agents, turned violent and in an unwarranted display of hooliganism, cruelly and shamelessly assaulted the deceased occasioning severe injuries from which the deceased passed on.
“The accused exhibited a care-free and reckless attitude when, despite the obvious bad condition of the deceased, they detained him as opposed to assisting him seek medical attention,” she said.
The judge said the police must know that no one is above the law and that human rights must be upheld at all times.
Justice Mwayera said police brutality risked causing chaos in the country.
“Allowing police brutality would not only lead to anarchy and chaos but will take away people’s confidence in the Zimbabwe Republic Police and also the justice delivery system,” said the judge.
She added: “Police brutality is condemned world over for the obvious reasons that society looks up to the police as a law enforcement agency to protect them and uphold the law as opposed to abuse and inhuman treatment.”
Justice Mwayera said petty offences like the theft of a wallet from a senior police officer’s wife and the sale of illicit brew did not warrant loss of life.
From the evidence led in court, during the raid the police stormed Chivambo’s house and attacked him.
They demanded to know who had robbed the officer-in-charge’s wife.
The defence of applying minimum force or self-defence fell away because there was no evidence of any form of resistance.
Chivambo died a painful death after he was kicked and beaten with baton sticks by the marauding cops.
Makokoba constituency Member of Parliament Cde Tshinga Dube addresses ZANU-PF party supporters at MacDonald Hall in Bulawayo yesterday