Bulawayo East legislator Dorcas Sibanda (MDC-T) has filed a complaint against three police officers in Mbembesi who allegedly tribally abused her employee at a sports bar in Ntabazinduna for playing Ndebele music.
Report by Nduduzo Tshuma
Sibanda wrote a letter to the Zimbabwe Republic Police officer commanding administration in Matabeleland North, Assistant Commissioner Sithulisiwe Mokuele, registering her displeasure at the way the matter was handled when a report was made at Mbembesi Police Station.
The letter was also copied to the officer-in-charge of Mbembesi Police Station, the President’s and Prime Minister’s offices,
Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri, Home Affairs and Justice ministries, the Human Rights and Anti-Corruption commissions, Public Protector, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association, the Zimbabwe Women Coalition as well as the chairperson of the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee in Parliament.
In the letter, dated February 11, Sibanda asked Mokuele to revisit the matter as she was not happy with the way it had been handled.
She said in December last year, the three police officers visited her bar to drink and accused her barlady, only identified as Nobuhle, of only playing Ndebele songs before demanding that she plays Shona ones.
“They accused her of playing Ndebele songs for a long time and started shouting at her in vulgar Shona words (unprintable) and that she was not educated,” wrote Sibanda.
The MP said at the time she arrived at the bar and asked what the problem, Nobuhle was sobbing.
Sibanda said despite personally assuring the police officers that she would play the type of songs they wanted as she knew Shona songs better than Nobuhle, the cops still hurled unprintable insults at the woman.
The MP said she advised her son and Nobuhle to make a report to the police on December 23. She said on January 13, a Constable Muuya visited the place and got a statement from Nobuhle, but nothing was done.
“No arrests were made until February when we heard villagers saying the accused police officers were saying they would be protected by their bosses and nothing would happen to them,” she said.
Sibanda said she called Muuya on February 4 about the case and was told the police station’s officer-in-charge was handling the matter.
The MP said later on that day, she was informed by Nobuhle that a police officer had come to ask her to sign a paper saying the matter had been dealt with and closed, claiming they had already agreed with the legislator.
“I never suggested that the case be closed,” wrote Sibanda.
She said she was not happy with the conduct of the police and asked Mokuele “to intervene as Nobuhle and the rest of women in Zimbabwe are no longer safe at their workplaces”.
Sibanda yesterday said she was waiting for the police to act as the insults by the police made Nobuhle vulnerable to abuse by the law enforcement agents.
No comment could be obtained from Mokuele as she was said to be out of office.
Advocacy group Women of Zimbabwe Arise last December accused a group of police officers from Bulawayo of forcing them to speak in Shona allegedly saying “all Ndebeles were killed during Gukurahundi”, during a demonstration on water problems.