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Gwanda mayor in trouble with police

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Gwanda mayor Lionel DeNecker has reportedly landed himself in trouble with police following his recent attack on law enforcement agents whom he accused of usurping functions of the local authority.

Last week, DeNecker accused police of contravening council by-laws by confiscating vendors’ licences claiming they were fake.

Yesterday, police officers reportedly visited the Gwanda council offices looking for him, but were told he was in Harare on council business.

Contacted for comment, DeNecker confirmed the developments, but said he was not sure what exactly they wanted.

“I got a phone call from my office who told me that they (police) were looking for me. I do not know what they want, but I was told they were visibly angry,” he said.

“I hear that Machingura (Officer-in-Charge for Gwanda Police Station) came along with two other police officers and left a message that I should visit their office as soon as I touch down in Gwanda.

“They did not say what it was in connection with. Maybe they want to see me in connection with comments I made about their arrest of vendors.”

DeNecker said he had already instructed council lawyers to be on standby “so that when I return next week we will go and see Machingura or the provincial command”.

Contacted for comment, Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tafanana Dzirutwe could neither deny nor confirm they were hunting DeNecker.

“The police are mandated by the constitution to enforce all of the country’s laws including by-laws so when businesspeople express concern about people selling the same wares as they do yet some are not paying taxes then those paying should be protected.”

Dzirutwe said DeNecker was a stakeholder in the area and had the freedom to consult the police command if he had queries about their operations because the comments he made “tarnish the image of the police that they were repossessing wares from informal traders and disposing them to themselves”.

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