Conspiracy, as cop died in brawl: MDC

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party says the policeman killed last Sunday was involved in a bar brawl with unidentified members of the public.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) issued several news statements claiming Inspector Petros Mutedza was murdered by MDC-T supporters after he and another colleague attempted to stop an “illegal gathering”.

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Police launched a huge crackdown on MDC activists and their relatives and friends in Glen View, Harare, accusing them of having a hand in the killing of the policeman.

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More than 25 MDC-T supporters were due to appear in court on Friday, charged with the murder.

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Twelve of the suspects appeared in court with visible wounds, and lawyer Charles Kwaramba told the Harare court they were tortured repeatedly by police in prison.

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The group appeared in court on Friday with severe cuts, bruising and swollen limbs. Kwaramba claimed police denied them medical attention.

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Tendai Biti, the secretary general of the MDC-T, said while the party condemned the violence which lead to Mutedza’s death in Glen View, he called on the police to fully investigate the matter.

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“The investigations must be impartial, nonpartisan and professional. This is the only way that the true perpetrators of this crime can be brought to book,” Biti said.

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“Typically, before any investigations could be instituted in this matter the police, through its spokesperson, rushed to the press to blame and condemn the MDC for being responsible for the murder. The MDC totally denies that it was behind this tragedy,” he said.

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In order to justify the accusations against the MDC, Biti said the police started rounding up and detaining all known MDC officials and activists in Glen View.

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It was clear that some Zanu-PF elements in the police were using this unfortunate incident to try to convince the SADC that the MDC was violent , he said.

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“Our own investigations have revealed that the police officers in question had a fight with patrons at a beer hall, following which the late officer was injured. We call upon the police to look at such things as the relationship between the deceased officer and the members of the public in that area.”

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Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the police were investigating. The MDC said most of those arrested were tortured as police tried to induce self-incriminating evidence from them.

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The police kept the activists in custody longer than the mandatory 48 hours, he said. Describing the police as “fascist”, Biti said: “We have evidence that Last Maengahama (a member of the MDC national executive council) has been tortured and has now been taken to Nyabira police station.

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“Those arrested have not been allowed access to lawyers. We now have it on good authority that some, including Mr Last Maengahama, have been brutally assaulted and are being denied medical treatment.”

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The MDC has written to the Joint Monitoring and Implementing Commitee (JOMIC) complaining about the hasty arrest of its members and alleged police inaction in cases of violence involving Zanu-PF members.

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“We reiterate that police must deal decisively in terms of the law with all perpetrators of violence, including the murderers of Tonderai Ndira, Better Chokururama, Godfrey Kauzani and other victims of state-sponsored violence,” Biti said.

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“Some Zanu-PF elements in the police want to use this unfortunate incident to divert the impending SADC summit from the real issues,” he said.

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However, he said the MDC-T expected the SADC to endorse the important resolutions of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation that was held in Zambia, on March 31.

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“We are ready for free and fair elections based on a clear road map that is underwritten by the SADC and the AU.

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We call upon the parties to undertake serious security sector reforms in view of the partisan behaviour of some of the security forces.” – TimesLive