Stamp out barbaric policing

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Vapostori being led into the Harare Magistrates Court.

TWENTY-FOUR members of the Johanne Masowe weChishanu sect arrested last Sunday on allegations of being part of a group involved in violent skirmishes with the police in Budiriro, Harare, alleged at the Harare Magistrates’ Court during their initial appearance on Tuesday that they had been tortured and detained by the police for over two days without food before being brought to court.

NEWSDAY EDITORIAL

These are serious allegations and the magistrate rightly demanded that these be investigated thoroughly to establish the truth, which could have a bearing on the admissibility of the evidence so allegedly extracted by force, or guilt of the suspects. Outside expertise — such as that of independent doctors and investigators — is needed because in all probability the police cannot be expected to investigate themselves and find themselves guilty, as they are an interested party and would be inclined to exonerate their own.

The whole process has to be seen to be credible and fair, not a cover-up. That is the first vital step.

In this regard, it’s neither here nor there whether the Johanne Masowe weChishanu members are fanatics or not. It’s neither here nor there that Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe president Johannes Ndanga greatly inflamed the situation through his amateurish, blunderous uncalled-for dressing-down of the restive Vapostori.

Or that the police, despite being trained in crowd control and anti-riot tactics, should have restrained Ndanga instead of being seen as serving a common purpose with him, becoming — in the eyes of the incensed sect members — guilty by association. Or that somebody higher up in the police chain of command bungled big time in carrying out the whole operation.

What is at issue is the treatment or mistreatment of the suspects at the hands of the police as individuals with rights enshrined in the Constitution. Indeed, suspects lose some rights — such as freedom — after arrest, but certainly not all. They still retain rights to fair treatment as freedom from torture and freedom from hunger are enshrined in the supreme law of the land.

We are not talking about the Vapostoris’ errors of commission or omission — which are many and provable — but the role of the police in being entrusted with suspects which states there should be fair treatment without any discrimination on any grounds. There is no doubt that criminality was committed. This was graphically captured on camera and faces can be clearly identified and many of the culprits are as good as convicted and jailed.

We also know or cannot overlook that the police are hurt and angry, and this is natural because they are human like everybody else.

But restraint is still called for because vigilantism — whether on the streets of Budiriro as seen this week with a police officer leading a Zanu PF mob to destroy artefacts at the sect’s shrine, or with the alleged police torture of suspects — can never be acceptable in a State with the constitutionally-mandated institutions to deal with law and order. Taking the law into your own hands is a serious crime in itself.

Those police members inclined to resort to torture and other barbaric methods must be reminded of this if they have somehow forgotten how they should — no, must — conduct themselves. If not, it’s the duty of the courts to send the sternest right signals that this is not only intolerable, but severely punishable.
Only that message will do.

10 COMMENTS

    • mdc t wapedza iwe.varikungotaura kubatwa kwemapostory rough handina kunzwa vachitaura kurova mapurisa kwakaipa or probing into the allegations of child abuse by mapostorie .reporter i hate mapurisa as much as you do only difference is im objective

  1. kurohwa kumacells has been the order of the day and in this case you can’t expect mapositori to have a good living ivo vakazvambura vanhu. Vakaonererwa vari kumasowe now its the turn yemapurisa to proove kuti mupurisa haajairirwi. Next time hamuzvidzokorodzi. Mapurisa batai vanhu.

  2. i am awfully sorry to mention that there are surreal pulp surround sounds coming out of this mufani cult attack boys what did you think you were doing following behind voodoo conduct like that in your official ring sports garments?

    kwahi ‘kwahi vatete venyu vohgwara kwahi muvape mwanasikana wenyu asati ave mhandara kana wamadzikoma azovabetsere basa remumba mavo’. reeltime verbatim off of 2007.
    so how come u suddenly terminated your joyous lay back quirky music unceremoniously by scorching the records? i’m tellin you i could add quality of the f word of friendship here you know !!

    let power be exercised accordingly, checked and balanced by independent opposition and protected lawfully not awfully through our justice system !!

  3. In this case mapostori must b freed, according 2 th situation ZRP failed 2 conduct 2 their duties proparly by being hired 2 fix th gradge btwn Ndanga madzibaba vechishanu, secondly they hire and escorted Zanu pf youth to revenge th attack of vapostori there after they punished mapostori by staving them 4 two days and beating them after they dragged them 2 court, hw many times wl these pple b panished. Mapurisa u a corrupt thus muchitadza ku operator proffesional if Ndanga reported child abuse to you wer suppoz 2 investgate n arrest yibasa re court 2 decide to ban mapostori or nt

  4. The editorials you have been posting on this issue clearly show that the paper aims to put opposition groups into the bush, probably for the benefit of the ruling one. Even a dead man can tell that Ndanga is in the right and Ishmael is in the wrong. The government wanted to ban all mapositori because of such issues as Ishmael’s case. Then the Accz was formed and a m.o.u signed with the government. Ndanga just did his job by banning an offending affilliate. If these mapositori felt it was wrong, then there was room for appeal to the court, to the religious board of Zimbabwe, and to Accz itself

  5. We expected revenge by the police because they don’t uphold the law or constitution. they are just a mafia, a zanu mafia. that’s why they even accompanied the zanu gang to burn the shrine

  6. ko imi maisaziva kuti tsvimbo dziya dzinozorwa cooking oiri maweapons.ngadzibhanwe coz dziri dangerous.
    iye zvino vazoionaka polis kuti haisi yekungorova ichipa rimwe dama.
    watch those guys coz zvavari kuita vana tichavati mboko haram nekuti vese vanoti mwari wavo avatuma kushungurudza di gyal child.

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