A 42-YEAR-OLD Karoi widow is up in arms with the police for failing to repair her house damaged during a pre-dawn raid for a suspected poacher in January last year.
By Nhau Mangirazi
A distraught Millicent Mangeya was in tears as she narrated how she had failed to get tenants for her four-roomed house that could have sustained her and her unemployed 20-year-old son.
Potential tenants are shunning the house that still has dark sooty walls from teargas, while burnt electrical pipes and wirings easily sell out the poverty-stricken and emotional living the two endure daily.
The damaged roof leaks during rainy seasons as Mangeya awaits for the police to confirm whether they will repair her property and replace destroyed household goods.
She alleged on the fateful day, her son, Tatenda, was brutally assaulted by officers.
Mangeya said the officers demanded to know the whereabouts of their tenant, a suspected poacher, who had gunned two of their colleagues and an ordinary member of the public in Chipinge in November 2015.
“No one has compensated me for what we lost including household goods such as a bed, wardrobe, kitchen unit, clothes, a television set, DVD player and other valuables,” a tearful Mangeya said last week.
“Our crime was that we had a tenant whom they wanted. But beside the shootout and teargassing that set alight our property, police are still mum on how we will get our property.”
She recounted how at least 10 officers, some of them from CID Harare, and the local dog section raided the house in Chikangwe high-density suburb.
“The armed police officers combed the house, while dogs were on guard. Three warning shots were fired and they called everyone to come out of the house,” she said.
Tatenda, who was alone in the house, came out.
“Just as I was coming out, they threw teargas inside the house and I was handcuffed. Some police officers took turns to beat me and the smoke nearly choked me,” the 20-year-old Tatenda said.
“It was more like a brutal movie style and I helplessly watched our house going up in smoke, while some bullets were being fire through the asbestos.”
An officer, who was the leader of the team, reportedly told neighbours to stay in their houses.
“We saw them beating him and throwing tear gas while firing shots at the house. It was like a war zone and the house was engulfed in smoke. We were also affected by the tear smoke even from a distance,” a neighbour, Ratidzai Munenga, said.
However, some neighbours gathered courage and came to Tatenda’s rescue, as they vouched he was not a criminal.
“We have known Tatenda as a quiet person and the brutal attack on him was uncalled for,” another resident, Robson Tapera, said.
Tatenda said as he watched the house and property burning while in handcuffs, he was thrown into a kombi as a suspect.
Mangeya said the suspect, who is currently on the run, had lived at their house for almost five years.
“We hardly saw him, but his wife was around with three children and she battled for survival. We used to share the little we get together as the husband was hardly at home,” Mangeya said.
“When he occasionally came home, he used to say he is a miner. We never suspected anything as he was hardly here.”
She said three weeks prior to the incident, some armed officers raided the house and assaulted the suspect’s wife.
“We had not seen the suspect for at least three months and never thought that he was an armed poacher. We believed his word that he was a stone dealer and miner,” Mangeya said.
She said the suspect’s wife fled after she was brutally assaulted by the police and they have never heard a word from her.
Mangeya said although they lodged a complaint with the local police nothing, has been done to repair the house and replace burnt properties.
“I am a widow and cannot fend for myself and have been using rentals for my upkeep. But police are not assisting us to repair the house they damaged,” she said.
“We need recourse as the brutal attack on my son was unwarranted. We had to get assistance for medication after the attack.”
The suspect poacher, known as Nziramasanga, allegedly killed Sergeants Wengai Mazhara (39) and Robert Shumba (35) during a raid at his hideout at Chipinge’s Naffaton Farm.
The officers had information that the late Chaita Simango was harbouring armed poachers.
Local and provincial police officers referred questions to national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Charity Charamba, who was not reachable.