VENDORS from Mbare stormed the Mbare Magistrates’ Court yesterday to witness the trial of a senior police officer, Joseph Nemaise, who allegedly assaulted and terrorised them with impunity last year.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Nemaise, who faces various human rights abuse counts, including assaulting detained people, vendors and human rights activists, appeared before Mbare magistrate Sharon Rakafa, charged with assaulting a suspected criminal, Delish Nguwaya.
When vendors got wind that Nemaise was in the dock, they stormed the Mbare Magistrates’ Court, waving handwritten placards which read Stop Police Brutality, Nemaise Must Rot in Jail and No to Police Injustice.
Nemaise, who was brought to court on summons, however, denied the assault charge and refused to be tried, saying he could not do so as he was not arrested or charged by the police.
His lawyer Simon Mupindu then tried to seek authority from the court to apply for referral of the matter to the Constitutional Court, but the State insisted that he should be tried at the lower court as he had a case to answer.
Mupindu argued that his client’s rights were being infringed by forcing him to plead to the assault charge.
Nguwaya filed an assault charge against Nemaise on August 23 last year, but the matter took long to be heard as the accused was believed to be untouchable.
Magistrate Rakafa postponed the matter to Friday.
Nemaise is accused of assaulting, Nguwaya, who is a Central Intelligence Organisation informer, in court where he had attended his hearing on extortion allegations.
He allegedly stormed a courtroom at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, handcuffed and dragged Nguwaya out, while beating him up in full view of members of the public.
Nguwaya screamed for his lawyers’ help as the officers whisked him away.
Later, when the court resumed sitting, Nguwaya’s lawyer Jonathan Samukange, applied for the officers to be charged with contempt of court, saying the police had shown total disrespect of the courts of law.