Nqobile Tshili/Leonard Ncube, Chronicle Reporters
POLICE have arrested more than 2 100 people for violating lockdown regulations while three officers have appeared in court for allegedly assaulting residents in Victoria Falls with chains and batons, accusing them of flouting shutdown requirements.
The country is under a 21-day lockdown which started last week on Monday to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation has said the global pandemic has infected more than 1,2 million people worldwide with more than 70 000 of them succumbing to the deadly virus.
Zimbabwe has tested 320 for the virus and nine tested positive while one patient has died.
Under the country’s lockdown measures, all citizens are expected to stay at home, except for essential movements to seek health services, buy food, medicines, other essentials and critical services.
The military has been roped in to complement the police to ensure that the public strictly abides to lockdown regulations that include maintaining social distances and self-isolating.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the defiance has seen 2 191 people being arrested for lockdown violations since President Mnangagwa issued the stay-at-home order.
“The number includes some people who were violating the Liquor Act, operating businesses that are not exempted, illegally transporting members of the public without being cleared, loitering without valid reasons and various crimes under the Miscellaneous Act,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.,
“What is apparent is that the public is taking for granted the messages that are being sent to prevent the spread of Covid-19. There are those who think that because the virus has not seriously impacted on the country they will not be affected. They are not observing social distancing and self-isolation as prescribed to prevent the spread of the virus. We encourage them to heed the Government’s measures to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Asst Comm Nyathi said police have scaled up awareness campaigns to sensitise the public to adhere to Government’s measures.
“While we are enforcing the law by arresting those violating regulations, we are also involved in social responsibility programmes where we educate the public about the need to observe the coronavirus prevention measures. We have also partnered with local authorities that are involved in fumigation of public places.
While local authorities provide fumigation materials we provide vehicles used to implement the actual process,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Meanwhile, three policemen who allegedly assaulted residents with chains and batons in Victoria Falls accusing them of defying the Government order to stay indoors have been charged with assault.
Emmanuel Anesu Buzhiwa (30) of Mkhosana and Givemore Masokose (26) residing at ZRP Victoria Falls Camp were not asked to each plead to five counts of assault before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa yesterday.
Jimson Zano (29) of Aerodrome appeared separately before the same court for two counts of assault following incidents where the three constables, allegedly beat up residents in Mkhosana and Chinotimba suburbs last Friday for being outdoors.
The cops, who are being represented by Mr Givemore Mvhiringi of Mvhiringi and Associates were released on RTGS$1 500 bail each and ordered to reside at their given addresses, report once a week on Mondays at Criminal Investigation Department offices in Victoria Falls and not to interfere with witnesses until the matter is finalised.
Buzhiwa and Masokose were remanded to June 16 for start of trial while Zano’s trial with start on June 18.
Prosecuting, Mr Bheki Tshabalala said Buzhiwa and Masokose used batons to beat up residents in Mkhosana while Zano used a chain.
“The accused, in the company of two others who are still to be identified arrived at house number 7658 Mkhosana at about 7PM where they found Mr Kharathi Moyo (50) sitting outside the house after having supper.
“The accused enquired why the complainant was sitting outside during the Covid-19 lockdown and assaulted him with batons and kicked him all over the body. They then pushed him into the house,” said the prosecutor.
Mr Moyo sustained bruises on the buttocks, legs and arms.
The court was told that Buzhiwa and Masokose proceeded to a house in the same suburb where they found Mr Ishmael Mduduzi Sibanda (22) watering a lawn outside the house and assaulted him as they accused him of being outdoors.
Mr Sibanda sustained swollen legs and arms.
The accused left the house after ordering Mr Sibanda indoors and they met Mr Brighton Tshuma (22) who they beat, leaving him with a bruised back.
The court was told that the accused went to another house where they found a family sitting outside and shouted at them. The family fled and hid in the house but Buzhiwa and Masokose allegedly kicked the door open and dragged Beatrice Sakho (17) and her brother Blessing out of the house and assaulted them.
Their elder brother Mr Munyaradzi Sakho (29) pleaded with the two cops not to assault his siblings and the accused turned the heat on him, assaulting him with batons.
The court was told that the two allegedly dragged Mr Sakho out of the yard and beat him until he fainted.
The accused fled from the scene and neighbours rendered first aid on Mr Sakho before he was rushed to Victoria Falls Hospital where he is still admitted with injuries on the back, head and legs.
Zano, on the other hand, is accused of assaulting Ms Miriam Mudenda (24) and Mr Stanley Chiwambo (41) on the same evening in Chinotimba, accusing them of being outdoors.
A report was made to the police and witnesses identified the trio at a police parade. — @ncubeleon