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Horror at the hands of cops

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TEN police officers — including one female — allegedly forced a Victoria Falls woman to sit on caustic soda, badly burning her backside and privates in a shocking incident, NewsDay Weekender has learnt.

By NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

Zibusiso Moyo lies in a hospital bed in Victoria Falls;
Zibusiso Moyo lies in a hospital bed in Victoria Falls;

Zibusiso Moyo (27) has been battling for her life at a hospital in the resort town since June 27 when she was tortured by the police, who accused her of loitering for purposes of prostitution.

She told NewsDay Weekender from her hospital bed that she had been experiencing unbearable pain and was contemplating suing the government for the crime committed against her.

“At around 3am, near Jehovah’s Witness Church in Chinotimba, a ZRP vehicle stopped in front of me and a group of officers asked me where I was coming from, but before I could answer, one of them shouted ‘voestek’ and ordered me to get into a vehicle,” Moyo said.

“Upon getting in, I was ordered to sit down and after a few minutes, I told them that I was feeling itchy and there was a burning sensation on my privates, but the officers harassed me. The female officer said my cries sounded like those of someone having sexual intercourse.”

A picture showing wounds on her backside that were caused by the suspected caustic soda she had been made to sit on by the police
A picture showing wounds on her backside that were caused by the suspected caustic soda she had been made to sit on by the police

Moyo said although she was groaning in excruciating pain, begging for relief, the police details continued with their patrols and ordered her to be quiet, saying she was sitting on salt.

“As we arrived at the charge office, I and two other ladies who had also been arrested were made to sit on a bench, but I couldn’t and I slept on the floor. I removed all my clothes because I felt like my skin was melting, but none of the police officers attended to me,” she said.

“It was only later that they took me to hospital. They were mocking me saying the pain I felt could not be compared to labour pains.”

A few days after her admission at the hospital, Moyo said she started bleeding and the haemorrhage went on for several days and after going for a scan, she was told she had lost her pregnancy.

Moyo said the pain was still the same and she was not getting enough medication and her wounds showed no sign of healing.

She only had a packet of syringes without needles and a bottle of betadine she said she got from the police.

“I cannot sit up and I struggle to walk. For the past five weeks, I have been in the same position without clothes. I feel that the chemical is still in my body because when I bathe, I feel like someone is pricking me with needles,” she said.

Moyo said she had come to visit her relatives when she was arrested and had already lost her job in South Africa.

According to police sources, the deadly substance had been picked by Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officers along Kazungula Road and was loaded into a truck for storage, but the police had not cleaned the car.

Moyo, through her lawyer Thulani Nkala of Dube and Company, said they had since taken steps to seek justice.

Part of a letter recently sent to Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri read: “Re: Notice of intention to sue the police and the Ministry of Home Affairs by Zibusiso Moyo for damages arising out of unlawful arrest and detention and negligently causing harm to the said Zibusiso Moyo by police officers in terms of Section 6 of the State Liabilities Act (Chapter 8:14).”

Officer Commanding Victoria Falls district Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona acknowledged seeing the letter, but claimed that Moyo had pending charges.

“Ever since receiving prior correspondences from your office, we have forwarded them to our lawyers, as they should be in a position to revert to you in due course . . . It might be worth to mention that Zibusiso Moyo was arrested for a criminal case and is being held in limbo pending her discharge from hospital when the docket will be finalised for court,” Chiwona responded on August 3, without giving details of the charges against her.

Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Siphiwe Makonese said she was not aware of the matter, while Chiwona’s phone went unanswered.

Chiwona was said to be in a meeting when NewsDay Weekender visited his offices yesterday.

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