BY STAFF REPORTER
THERE was pandemonium yesterday after rogue police officers discharged a tear canister into a loaded Rimbi Tours bus for picking passengers at an undesignated site at the Harare Showgrounds, resulting in panicky passengers, among them elderly people, jumping out of the vehicle through windows.
This adds to the growing concerns about increasing police brutality.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident last night and said the seven police officers and the bus crew were arrested over the incident and would appear in court soon for endangering lives.
“Firstly, we don’t condone such acts of misconduct and unsanctioned actions by
police officers deployed to enforce order at various places. We would like to assure members of the public that we have identified the officers involved and they will be brought to book as their actions went beyond normal policing duties” he said.
The incident happened after police found the bus, belonging to Rimbi Tours, being driven by a tout and when they attempted to arrest him, he threatened to drive off.
“We have since engaged the bus owners over the issue and they too will be asked to explain why their bus ended up being driven by an unlicensed tout,” he said.
The Information ministry also condemned the way the police officers conducted themselves.
“Government has been made aware of an incident at Harare Showgrounds where a team of seven officers have been arrested for deploying tear smoke in an occupied bus. They will face charges. The crew of the bus has also been arrested as the bus in question was being driven by a tout,” the ministry tweeted.
The incident came at a time police have been roundly accused of heavy-handedness in dealing with the public.
Observers expressed shock, with MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere tweeting: “Police brutality in Zimbabwe has reached shocking heights. They threw multiple teargas canisters into a bus filled with citizens, threatening many lives with death by asphyxiation. We cannot breathe. There is a crisis in Zimbabwe. Retweet for awareness. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.”
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya captioned it as “despicable misrule”.
A recent Zimbabwe Peace Project report indicated police and the army were top on the list of human rights violators in the past two years.