Hand­cuffed, stomped on head, left un­con­scious BCC COPS BASH VEN­DOR

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Cyn­thia Dube

SIX mu­nic­i­pal po­lice of­fi­cers from the Bu­l­awayo City Coun­cil yes­ter­day al­legedly hand­cuffed a ven­dor, beat him up and stomped on his head un­til he be­came un­con­scious.

The cops were car­ry­ing out rou­tine raids on un­li­censed ven­dors when they al­legedly sav­agely at­tacked Mr Mark Chibanda near the City Hall.

An­gry ven­dors chased the mu­nic­i­pal cops and threw stones at the City Hall.

Mr Chibanda of Old Pu­mula sub­urb lay on the pave­ment for al­most an hour be­fore an am­bu­lance came to col­lect and rush him to the United Bu­l­awayo Hos­pi­tals (UBH).

Fum­ing ven­dors said coun­cil cops had ear­lier con­fis­cated Mr Chibanda’s wares and he con­fronted them at around 4PM.

“They hand­cuffed him and tripped him to the ground. They be­gan stomp­ing on his head as he tried to cover it with his hands,” said a ven­dor who de­clined to be named.

“The bru­tal as­sault con­tin­ued while shocked fel­low ven­dors watched from a dis­tance. Chibanda be­gan bleed­ing from the nose and some­one shouted that they might kill him. When the other ven­dors could take it no more, they charged at the mu­nic­i­pal cops, but the dam­age had al­ready been done. Chibanda looked dead.”

She said the mu­nic­i­pal cops re­moved the hand­cuffs and fled.

When The Chron­i­cle ar­rived at the scene at around 5PM, an an­gry mob was throw­ing stones at the Large City Hall where the coun­cil po­lice of­fi­cers had al­legedly sought refuge.

“Open the doors we want to deal with those six makokobas (mu­nic­i­pal po­lice of­fi­cers) who did this to an in­no­cent man. We want to do the same to them,” chanted the mob.

The ven­dors later dis­persed with­out dam­ag­ing coun­cil in­fra­struc­ture.

A coun­cil of­fi­cial who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied but was re­ferred to as Dube by ven­dors, said what hap­pened to Mr Chibanda “is nor­mal.”

“It’s a nor­mal thing that is al­ways hap­pen­ing and l don`t see any­thing that is shock­ing here,” said the of­fi­cial who was knock­ing off from work.

He added: “You can get a com­ment from our Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer but she has just knocked off.”

The lo­cal au­thor­ity’s Se­nior Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Mrs Ne­sisa Mpofu, could not be reached for com­ment on her mo­bile phone.

Ms Mag­gie Ndlovu, who wit­nessed the in­ci­dent, said Mr Chibanda has been sell­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles for more than two years near Greens Su­per­mar­ket.

Ms Is­abel Mun­y­oro said mu­nic­i­pal po­lice of­fi­cers were be­com­ing in­creas­ingly abu­sive and vi­o­lent on ven­dors. “This is not fair. This morn­ing these makokobas were chas­ing a woman and her baby dropped from her towel. The baby is now ad­mit­ted to Mpilo Cen­tral Hospi­tal. They have to re­alise that most peo­ple are un­em­ployed and we are sur­viv­ing through vend­ing,” she said.

“These peo­ple have been tak­ing our fruits. If you go to their homes l think they sleep in one room be­cause other rooms are filled with our stuff. They take our veg­eta­bles and fruits ev­ery day.

“I pay school fees for my chil­dren us­ing the money that l get from vend­ing. Any­way, it was bet­ter when they were tak­ing our wares but now it’s an­other story if they want to kill us,” fumed Miss Mun­y­oro.

Two months ago, an­other ven­dor was rushed to hospi­tal af­ter he was struck by a car while flee­ing from mu­nic­i­pal po­lice along Robert Mu­gabe Way. An an­gry mob at­tacked the coun­cil cop who had been chas­ing the ven­dor soon af­ter the in­ci­dent.

Mr Sim­barashe Chisvo (24) was hit by a blue Toy­ota Corolla at around 4PM near the main Econet Wire­less shop. In Fe­bru­ary this year, four coun­cil cops were rushed to hospi­tal af­ter ven­dors as­saulted them. Witnesses said a fight broke out be­tween the il­le­gal ven­dors and the mu­nic­i­pal po­lice of­fi­cers who had con­fis­cated their goods.

In De­cem­ber last year, a Bu­l­awayo man was hos­pi­talised fol­low­ing an as­sault by Bu­l­awayo mu­nic­i­pal po­lice of­fi­cers who mis­took him for a ven­dor. The cops swooped on Brighton Madegwe (25) of Kings­dale sub­urb as he dis­em­barked from a com­muter om­nibus with his mother and brother. They beat him up with rub­ber trun­cheons un­til he lost con­scious­ness. — @cyn­thi­amthembo1

A ven­dor Mr Mark Chibanda lies un­con­scious on the ground af­ter an al­leged bru­tal beat­ing by Bu­l­awayo mu­nic­i­pal po­lice dur­ing a raid yes­ter­day. Inset: An am­bu­lance crew takes away Mr Chibanda from the Large City Hall

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