A senior police detective has been hauled before an internal disciplinary hearing after he allegedly accompanied Zanu PF youths who wanted to evict employees at a mine on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
The former officer commanding the Criminal Investigation Department’s Law and Order section in Bulawayo, Superintendent Andrew Mupungu, who has since been transferred to Harare, is accused of tarnishing the image of the police.
But sources said the disciplinary issues were linked to the invasion of properties in Bulawayo by Zanu PF youths, which Mupungu was accused of supporting.
He is being charged with violating section 34 of the Police Act (conduct likely to bring the police force into disrepute) arising from the visit to the mine.
It is alleged that on January 28 last year, Mupungu led a team of “riotous” people to Black Empowerment Mine in Bulawayo’s Cement Siding area where they wanted to evict employees of National Youth Services Bulawayo coordinator Pedzisai Douglas Siziba from the mine.
The “gang” is alleged to have acted in a “riotous and violent manner”, threatening to assault Siziba’s workers while Mupungu reportedly took no action.
According to the charges, contained in documents which NewsDay is in possession of, it is alleged that such conduct by senior officers like Mupungu was worsening the battered police image which the organisation was trying to repair.
The matter was supposed to be tried last Wednesday at the senior officers’ mess in Bulawayo’s Ross Camp.
But it failed to take off as police had not requested a magistrate from the provincial magistrate responsible for Matabeleland North John Masimba.
The matter was initially taken to a magistrate in May last year after Mupungu refused to be tried by a tribunal chaired by Matabeleland South police commander Billy Mushonga alleging that he would not get a fair trial.
During the same month, a prosecutor from the Attorney-General’s Office, Nonhlanhla Ndlovu, declined to prosecute Mupungu saying he had no case to answer.
There was a recommendation that the police officer should sign a memorandum of warning.
However, the police officer commanding Bulawayo province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Steven Mutamba, allegedly stung by Ndlovu’s refusal to prosecute the matter, wrote to the senior public prosecutor for Western Division, Martha Cheda, on December 5 last year, registering his displeasure with the outcome.
Sources said Mutamba clashed with Mupungu over the latter’s alleged “soft stance” towards Zanu PF activists in the city.
The alleged animosity between Mupungu and Mutamba is reported to have reached fever pitch with the Bulawayo police commander pushing for his junior’s prosecution over the alleged misdemeanour.
Mutamba also reportedly clashed with Mupungu over his involvement in Copac representing Zanu PF.
Mupungu, who is a war veteran, was subsequently removed from Copac along with the Zimbabwe National Army’s Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba.
The Bulawayo police commander is reported to have clashed with Mupungu over Zanu PF activists who had invaded city buildings.
Contacted for comment, Mutamba initially demanded to know the identity of the source of the story and declined to comment after it was explained to him that it was not possible to reveal our source.
Mupungu’s lawyer, Charles Paul Moyo, said his client had no case to answer.
Moyo said he had been made to believe that the case would be permanently withdrawn after the State refused to prosecute.
Timothy Makoni of the Attorney-General’s Office represents the police in the case.