Po­lice dis­miss live bul­lets story

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Paidamoyo Chipunza Harare Bureau

PO­LICE have dis­missed claims by The Stan­dard news­pa­per that live bul­lets were used to dis­perse il­le­gal pro­tes­tors on Satur­day, de­scrib­ing the re­port as “false” and “sen­sa­tional”.

This fol­lows pub­li­ca­tion of an ar­ti­cle yes­ter­day by the news­pa­per head­lined: “Po­lice open fire as protests spread.”

Po­lice spokesper­son Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Ny­athi said the ar­ti­cle lacked ba­sic ethics of jour­nal­ism and was in­stead more of po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism than pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ism. “The story is false and smacks of sen­sa­tion­alised jour­nal­ism which has openly turned po­lit­i­cal and threw all eth­i­cal tenets of jour­nal­ism through the win­dow in or­der to achieve one’s po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tives,” he said.

Chief Supt Ny­athi said no firearm or live bul­lets have been used dur­ing protests that have been held in Harare and Bu­l­awayo.

He said those claim­ing live bul­lets were fired at the pro­tes­tors should present the ev­i­dence. “We are now left to won­der as to the in­ten­tion of the peo­ple mak­ing th­ese friv­o­lous con­cocted lies. Re­mem­ber when firearms are used or fired at a crowd, there are bound to be ca­su­al­ties. Are the al­leged shot peo­ple in hospi­tal or be­ing kept by those who are cam­paign­ing for at­ten­tion and thus in­ter­fer­ing in po­lice du­ties,” said Chief Supt Ny­athi.

Chief Supt Ny­athi also said po­lice were con­cerned that the ar­ti­cle was pub­lished barely two days af­ter they had a meet­ing with the Me­dia In­sti­tute of South­ern Africa (MISA) where me­dia houses com­mit­ted to guard­ing against sen­sa­tional re­portage and false ar­ti­cles.

“Now we query the gen­uine­ness of this pur­ported en­gage­ment process. As dis­cussed in the meet­ing, me­dia houses were urged to sep­a­rate po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism with pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ism,” he said.

Chief Supt Ny­athi said on the day in ques­tion, po­lice ar­rested 21 peo­ple through­out the coun­try for en­gag­ing in acts of dis­or­derly con­duct such as block­ing smooth flow of traf­fic and in­tim­i­dat­ing the gen­eral pub­lic to join them.

He said those ar­rested in­cluded MDC ac­tivists who were openly ag­i­tat­ing for vi­o­lence.

Chief Supt Ny­athi also re­vealed that a for­mer leg­is­la­tor went to the ex­tent of buy­ing beer for pa­trons at a bar in Mab­vuku-Ta­fara to in­flu­ence them into join­ing the il­le­gal de­mon­stra­tions. He said no amount of bad mouthing by any­one will stop the ZRP from per­form­ing its con­sti­tu­tional man­date.

The il­le­gal protests were or­gan­ised by a group­ing of po­lit­i­cal par­ties un­der the ban­ner the Na­tional Elec­toral Re­form Agenda, de­spite Gov­ern­ment’s ban on de­mon­stra­tions from Septem­ber 16 to Oc­to­ber 15.

Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Ny­athi

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