Rogue cops run amok in Harare

HARARE - Some rogue police officers went on the rampage in Harare at the weekend — firing tear gas indiscriminately at commuters omnibus ranks before savagely assaulting revellers at night clubs.

In the process, they re-ignited the ugly memories of the savage State brutality that was witnessed on a daily basis during the despotic rule of former president Robert Mugabe.

The weekend’s brutal acts by law enforcement agents also fly in the face of the public pronouncements of both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and new police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga — who have preached messages of peace and a new dispensation in the country.

A police insider told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that there were “clearly some residual elements within the police force who are still employing old methods which taint the force’s professional image”.

“These members, many of whom joined the force over the past 20 years, do not know any other form of policing other than thuggery and to employ unnecessarily force — as we saw during (former police Commissioner-General Augustine) Chihuri and Mugabe’s time.

“We sadly still have those residual elements in the force and they are finding it difficult to adapt to the new dispensation, and hence it is not surprising that there are these reports of continuing brutality,” the insider said.

This comes as police have been having running battles with vendors who are resisting to leave Harare’s central business district (CBD) following the outbreak of cholera disease which has so far killed at least 32 people and left thousands others needing treatment.

The reported brutal acts by police also came as Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Peace.

Traumatised eyewitnesses told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that heavily-armed police had severely assaulted revellers at popular nightclubs in downtown Harare on Friday.

Commuter taxi drivers were also apparently not spared the random beatings.

In one incident, a woman is said to have been dragged from a car and beaten for not “dressing appropriately”, one of the victims said.

Earlier, police had also been accused of firing teargas indiscriminately at commuter omnibus ranks, causing panic among travellers who were returning home from work.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she was not aware of the incidents.

Police and their municipal counterparts have launched a combined blitz on vendors following the deadly outbreak of cholera in the capital city early this month.

Cholera — a treatable, poor man’s disease which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and which is lethal if not attended to promptly — has struck Zimbabwe for the fourth time in 15 years.

Such is the speed with which the current epidemic is spreading that there is growing fear among ordinary Zimbabweans that the rising cases of cholera may approach the disastrous levels that were seen in the outbreak of 2008 which killed more than 4 000 people nationwide.

That outbreak — as is the case with the current one — was blamed on poor public health policies, as well as the country’s broken water and sanitation infrastructure.

Government needs more than $60 million to contain the highly-infectious disease which is rapidly spreading across the country.

The crackdown on vendors has triggered an outpouring of anger among rights groups and the opposition, who have accused police of using heavy-handed methods.

“Government is simply using cholera as an excuse to victimise people in an attempt to achieve its ill-conceived goals.

“To make matters worse the apparatus deployed to enforce the Zanu PF decision are confiscating clothes and electronic gadgets from vendors, merchandise that cannot in any scientific way transmit cholera. These are clear acts of theft,” the MDC has said.

Comments (8)

It appears that Charity Charamba sees no evil and hears no evil. How many times do get the comment she is not aware of the incident. Wake up Charity

The Baron - 24 September 2018

Every time the police is involved in acts of thuggery and brutality,Charity is the last person to know about it?But when the chaos is caused by civilians,she doesn't take time to announce to the nation that they have arrested so and so in connection with the violence.Spare the hogwash Charity!Why do you turn a blind eye when the police are bludgeoning innocent citizens?Whenever they are protests and demonstrations in the city , the police beat up and arrest anyone on sight.Most of those that are beaten up or arrested are usually innocent because the culprits that causes violence usually go in hiding or run away before the police comes to the scene.It reminds me of one day when we had fuel crisis back in around 2005 and 2006 thereabout when Gushungo passed by Smachel were people were scrambling for fuel.They started shouting at his motorcade when it was passing.After almost 2 hours police arrived at the service station and started beating everyone indiscriminately yet those that had shouted at Gushungo;s motorcade had already gone.Typical of Zim police.Most of the guys in the police force are beyond rehabilitation.

Luke Munya Bikaldo - 24 September 2018

Citizens are now left with no choice but to organise themselves and fight back - the police are not sofisticated. The fact Charity does not know anything about the thuggery simply means nothing will be done to those rogue members of the police force. Its not the right thing to be encouraged but what should citizenry do faced with such hostility?

Widzo - 24 September 2018

bt guys they is also a rumour that those beatings civilian's are not actually police officers bt soldiers in police uniform

ras bee - 24 September 2018

sponsored people were fighting police officers.Lets not have a blind eye on what is happening .This is politics is working.Police is just doing its work

Nick - 24 September 2018

If Charity never has any knowledge of what is going on within the police force that she is supposed to speak for then what is she being paid for ? I thought that these days of arrogant, willful and blissful "ignorance" were behind us. "Open for Business" my shiny black ass !!

TruthSaid - 24 September 2018

I think this Charity Charamba lady needs to be fired , she does not deserve that position, there is no way she can't know anything all the time she is asked about police brutality, it means then that she is incompetent as is not hands on, she is just a lazy idiot who just sits in the office and wait for salary.

Sherpard Moyo - 25 September 2018

Cheap politicking. Surely how can a normal person cant see that those vendors irregardless of what they are selling they are causing a health hazard? Whether selling clothing, dry sealed food, or anything on undesignated places pauses a health hazard. How can mdc talk of victimization to vendors when they are urinating and squat to relieve themselves everywhere? Surely this type of politicking will never achieve anything other than a handsome of votes that will be insufficient to win an election. Those retaliating are not doing so on their will, they are being persuaded so that violence can broke out and force can be used to quell it then mdca will be smiles all over their faces in trying to draw the international community harsh response like sanctions against the government , then the situation goes out of hand. And mdca will now use that as a campaign tool saying ZANU PF government has failed. Surprisingly how can people who say they are better educated than us rural dwellers when they promote to stay in a town full of human waste with blocked streets where you can not even do window shopping. Harare was turned into the most dirtiest town in the world by very silly people who think they can win elections by supporting such health threatening enviroment. Silly politics by a dead opposition. Police must stamp their policing mandate without fear of being labelled rogue or whatever by these goons. Very few people stay in town, many stay in high density suburbs so they must go and sell their wares there and leave the CBD clean.

shunguhadziurayi - 28 September 2018

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