Police are investigating a case in which two people were killed in Harare on Thursday night following mayhem caused by an ill-advised decision by MDC-T-led Harare City Council to ban commuter omnibuses from the central business district (CBD).
Seven people, including three police officers, were injured in the skirmishes. Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga apologised for the incident and sent condolence messages to families of the deceased. He told a Press conference that police would investigate the matter to its logical conclusion.
“It is with a heavy heart and sadness that I wish to announce the death of two people in a very unfortunate and regrettable incident that occurred on the 22nd February 2018 in Harare central business district. I wish to express my sincere condolences to the bereaved families and relatives who lost their loved ones,” Comm-Gen Matanga said.
Comm-Gen Matanga’s sentiments followed a meeting he had with President Mnangagwa and Home Affairs Minister Dr Obert Mpofu.
At the meeting, President Mnangagwa said such disturbances should not happen again. Comm-Gen Matanga said a team of investigators had been set up to look into the matter.
“From the onset, let me categorically state that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is seized with this matter and I have since directed a team of expert investigators to extensively establish the cause, what transpired, who was responsible and action will be taken,” he said.
“These investigators will leave no stone unturned. Perpetrators will be brought to book and there are no sacred cows. Violence in whatever form is not tolerated.”
Comm-Gen Matanga said the clashes were between the police and members of the public. It was a culmination of an operation code-named “Clean-Up Harare Central Business District”, spearheaded by the City of Harare.
Comm-Gen Matanga said the police and other security agencies were assisting the Harare City Council to de-congest the CBD of commuter omnibuses and pirate taxis.
“At around 1730hrs, a Press statement was issued by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, directing that the operation should be stopped,” he said.
“As the directive was given, the police and other security agencies were still in the middle of the operation, enforcing the ban and unaware of the cancellation.
“A team of police officers from Harare Central was confronted by an angry mob armed with stones, concrete pillars and rods. The crowd started to throw stones at the police officers whilst demanding to know why they had earlier on dispersed them alongside Harare Municipal Police.”
Source – Herald