Nightmare for Daily News staffer

HARARE - Being detained by police for a crime one is guilty of is not as hard as being detained for no crime at all only to be released after 24 hours.

A trip to Mutoko North Constituency with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association turned out to be hell when police pounced on our vehicle and detained us on Thursday.

The debacle started when a group of community members from Mutoko North Development Trust mobilised themselves to hold a meeting with one of the directors at Natural Stone Export Company to discuss the development of the community through proceeds from black granite mining.

As it turned out,  the directors refused to show up and the community decided to demonstrate  to get the attention of the relevant authorities.

While all this was taking place, the police surrounded the car we were travelling in led by one very loud and vicious Detective Sergeant Nyoni of Mutoko district police.
Without waiting to listen to our story, Nyoni accused us of inciting the community to demonstrate, which we were not a part of.

Two police constabularies escorted us to the boom gate leading to the blasting area of the mine and made us sit on the hard floor for four hours like common criminals.

When he eventually took us to the station, we were separated from the rest of the community members and repeatedly questioned without any way forward on the whole procedure.

Nyoni only released us late into the night to find accommodation so that we could return and clear our names the following morning.

As early as 8 am  we were at the station ready to leave, but Nyoni was nowhere in sight. He only walked into the station around 10am.

He released us after a warning but 12 of the 42 detained citizens were charged with public disorder and appeared in court.

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