Gweru Urban MP Brian Dube (MDC Alliance) says he is preparing a court challenge to compel police to return various commodities they confiscated from vendors operating inside Gweru’s Kudzanayi long distance bus terminus last week.
By Brenna Matendere
Police, in a joint operation with the military and municipal police, raided unsuspecting vendors in the bus terminus and got away with various commodities found on the vendors’ stalls that included cooking oil, soap, rice, and cement, among others.
They arrested the vendors and took the goods valued at over $10 000 to Gweru Central Police Station and some of the vendors were fined while others still have pending cases at Gweru Magistrates’ Courts.
“That was theft by the police,” said Dube, who is also a lawyer, referring to the confiscation of the vendors’ wares.
“I have instructed the leaders of the vendors to make a list of their colleagues who were affected by the illegal operation and got their goods stolen by police. I also told them to quantify the goods so that their value is calculated. After that I am taking the police to court,” he said.
Dube said the raid was not only a serious violation of the vendors’ rights, but also criminal conduct involving law enforcement agents.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Joel Goko told Southern Eye that police actions were justified because the vendors were selling the basic commodities without licences.
“The goods are being kept and determination on whether they are returned to the vendors will be made by the police,” he said.
However, Dube said he had received reports that the basic commodities had already found their way into homes of top police officers for consumption.
The operation against vendors started in August ostensibly to flush them out of the CBD at the height of a typhoid outbreak.