MYSTERY surrounds the death of a Shamva man, Matthew Mwale, in police custody last Sunday two hours after his arrest and detention at a local police station.
REPORT BY FELUNA NLEYA
The deceased’s father Shadreck Mwale told NewsDay yesterday that he suspected foul play as his son died under unclear circumstances.
It is alleged that Matthew, aged 26, who was in the company of his girlfriend and a friend, was picked up at around 4pm on Sunday at Wadzanai commuter omnibus rank by two plainclothes police officers who were driving a Nissan Sunny car. The cops allegedly claimed to be from the CID Minerals Section in Bindura.
“We are suspecting foul play, because as it is we are not really sure as to how he died,” Shadreck said.
“If my son had a case to answer, he should have faced justice the proper way and not just die like this.”
Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Inspector Memory Pamire could, however, not confirm the incident.
“I have not yet received information pertaining to that issue, let me find out from Shamva,” Pamire said.
Shadreck said he first received the sad news from Wadzanai Ward 22 councillor Eveline Mpesa, who informed him that his son had died and was at Shamva Hospital.
“As I was on my way to the hospital, I received a phone call from one of the police officers at Shamva Police Station, who only identified himself as Assistant Inspector Mangwiro, asking me to come to the police station,” Shadreck said.
“When I got to the police station, he (Mangwiro) told me that my son had drunk poison while he was in the police cell and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“I asked him how he could have drunk poison in the cell since people are searched before they are put in the cells, and he said that the issue was for their administration and they had witnesses whom I did not see.”
Shadreck said Mangwiro did not tell him who had brought in his son, but said they were CID officers from the Minerals Section who had indicated they would collect Matthew on Monday.
“On Monday, I went back to the police station and met the officer-in-charge and asked him who had taken my son to the police station. That is when he told me that a Constable Vhutande and a Constable Ndinga who claimed to be from CID Minerals,” Shadreck said.
He said the officer-in-charge — who only identified himself as Svetu — then told him that they had to take the body to Harare for a postmortem. He said the family had also engaged an independent pathologist to conduct a postmortem to establish how their son died.
Shadreck said he was told that his son had been arrested for an October 2012 case where they said he had been found in possession of gold.
In March last year, officers from Shamva Police Station, including the officer-in-charge Inspector Aspias Shumba, were arrested after they allegedly brutally assaulted and killed a resident, Luxmore Chivambo, accusing him of stealing $100 from Shumba’s wife.
The eight later appeared before High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera for trial on murder charges, but judgment was reserved indefinitely.