The Zimbabwe Republic Police, enraged by the murder of their colleague inspector Petros Mutedza, in Glen View, Harare, on Sunday, wants anybody convicted of murder to be executed.
The police spoke as the MDC-T claimed last night at least 15 of its activists, whose whereabouts the party said were still unknown, had been rounded up in connection with the crime.
But the police said investigations into the alleged murder were still in progress without saying whether any arrests had been made.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri told NewsDay yesterday the justice delivery system in Zimbabwe was too lenient and not punitive enough to help combat criminal activities.
“As long as there is leniency in the justice system it gives appetite to troublemakers to continue such acts,” Phiri said.
“The maximum that can be given under the crime of murder is death sentence. Punishment should be punitive so that it sends a clear message.
“We do hope that by fishing out the culprits from the communities where they live, this would send a clear message to would-be troublemakers.”
The MDC-T said among those arrested included Last Maengahama, an MDC-T national executive member and resident of Glen View, and his three brothers Stanley, Edison and Lazarus Maengahama.
Siblings Odius, Lloyd and Precious Chitanda were also reportedly arrested.
The MDC-T said also picked up were Mavis Madzokere, the wife of a Glen View councillor, Tungamirai Madzokere, and Ollyn Madzokere, her sister-in-law. The two were arrested at their home, the party said.
It said another activist, Stefan Takaedzwa, was picked up outside the party’s headquarters, Harvest House, yesterday afternoon.
“The police are just arresting any well-known MDC activists in Glen View and Harare,” MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said.
“We do not have much respect for these arrests because before any investigations were made, the police, through their spokesperson, rushed to the Press to blame and condemn the MDC.
“The arrests of MDC supporters are, therefore, an apparent attempt to justify the unorthodox behaviour of the police. We, however, call upon the police to launch thorough, impartial, professional and non-partisan investigations into this matter and bring the true offenders to book.”
Mwonzora added: “The preliminary investigations that we have done point to the fact that the police officers were involved in skirmishes with members of the public who were drinking beer. It is, therefore, unfair to blame the MDC party.”
The lawyer assigned to represent the activists, Marufu Mandevere, said he was unaware where his clients were being held.
“I have that report, but we are still trying to locate their whereabouts,” said Mandevere.
Meanwhile, Phiri said the police would leave no stone unturned in their bid to bring the culprits to book.
“First and foremost is to account for the perpetrators of this heinous murder of a police officer in the line of duty,” Phiri said.
“At the same time we want to warn the public, especially political party activists from across the divide, that the police reiterates that violence will not be tolerated and let alone violence against law enforcements agents.”
The police officer was reportedly stoned to death by unknown assailants during skirmishes at Glen View 3 shopping centre.
The police said the skirmishes that led to the fatal attack on the police officer were sparked by an illegal meeting allegedly organised by the MDC-T in Glen View.
Phiri said the police would engage, “as we have done in the past, leaders of political parties so that they help us rein in their wayward members”.
He said the government should make sure the police were properly resourced to ensure they were not endangered when controlling riotous incidents.