Cops face probe for assault on vendors

HARARE - Two vendors brutally assaulted during clashes with the police on Tuesday appeared in court yesterday with visible soft tissue injuries, prompting a magistrate to order investigations into the matter.

Fungai Muzira and Godwin Mbizo appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa charged with public violence.

They were represented by Liberty Gono of Machaya and Associates.

“What happened to you?” quizzed the magistrate as Muzira and Mbizo limped into court.

“The State ought to investigate what happened to these accused persons because it is clear that they were assaulted.

“You have to enquire from the police who arrested these two exactly what happened to them.”

Gono told the court that his clients were assaulted after refusing to implicate other vendors in the matter.

“This is a clear violation of the accused persons’ constitutional rights. My clients were subjected to inhuman torture at the hands of the police and the officers must be brought to book for justice to prevail,” Gono said.

Prosecutor Audrey Chogumaira opposed bail on the basis that Muzira and Mbizo were likely to commit further offences if released.

She further submitted that there was a possibility that the two could disturb an ongoing operation to clear illegal vendors from streets.

However, Gono argued that his clients were of fixed abode and the State had no grounds to justify that the duo had a propensity to commit similar offences as “they were innocent until proven guilty”.

According to the State, on February 14 municipal police officers were in the company of Zimbabwe Republic Police patrolling around Eastlea in Harare arresting alleged illegal vendors.

The court heard that when they arrived at Market Street, Muzira, Mbizo and other vendors blocked the truck.

There was a reported clash as the vendors reportedly hurled stones at the truck.

The cops allegedly disembarked from the truck and started chasing after the vendors.

According to the State, Muzira and his accomplices injured one of the cops on the head.

One of the accused persons is alleged to have hit a cop with a log on the head and sustained a deep cut.

Muziro and Mbizo were arrested but their accomplices fled from the scene after police fired tear gas.

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