BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
THE Passenger Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) has petitioned the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) over police officers fond of throwing tearsmoke on commuter omnibuses.
The petition came soon after an incident last Friday, where police officers threw teargas canisters into a kombi along Seke Road in Harare, which had passengers inside.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he had not received a report about the incident.
A passenger, who spoke to NewsDay, said: “Four canisters were fired from the car which was in transit along Seke Road. We were waiting for transport and we ran in all directions after teargas had been thrown into the bus. Smoke is still stuck in my throat.”
He said his mask still smelt of tearsmoke.
“No one was run over or hit by cars since the drivers stopped their cars after seeing commotion, but what surprised me is that there were also other police officers who were waiting for transport at the scene where teargas was thrown into a kombi,” he said.
PAZ president Tafadzwa Goliati said: “On Friday, we received complaints from passengers that commuters, who were coming from work, were tear-gassed by riot police at Coca-Cola along Seke Road. Today (Monday) in the morning, we received the same news that at the same place, the police in a black Honda Fit vehicle teargassed passengers.
“This is dangerous because in the process passengers run for their lives, and they may end up being hit by cars. Teargassing people during the COVID-19 era is not only bad, but it is dangerous. COVID-19 is a respiratory infection, and imagine what teargas will do to weaken the respiratory system.”
Goliati said the country needed to be freed from such kinds of torture.
“What they are doing is very wrong and it has no place in a democratic world. My question is: who is going to be answerable to the injuries and deaths that might happen as a result of this unbecoming behaviour by our security forces. Zimbabwe needs to be freed from this kind of torture.”
Last year, seven police officers who teargassed a commuter omnibus packed with passengers in Harare were arrested.
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