HARARE – A suspected MDC supporter has been charged with the murder of a policeman who died in Harare during violence which broke out near the party’s Harvest House headquarters.
Barnabas Mwanaka, 35, of Glen View appeared in court yesterday where he was remanded in custody to July 24 by Harare magistrate Tilda Mazhande.
He was advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
Mwanaka complained that he was tortured while in police custody and was also denied access to a lawyer, in contravention of the Constitution.
Prosecutor Sabastian Mutizirwa alleged that on June 29 this year, the now deceased Talkmore Phiri was on duty with other details from Police Reaction Group.
Phiri and his group had been tasked to escort officers from Harare Central Operations who were going to attend a malicious damage to property scene at Deeds Office in the central business district on the fateful day.
It was alleged that Mwanaka and his accomplices, mostly vendors, who are still at large, were in town outside Harvest House, the MDC’s headquarters, where they allegedly hatched a plan to attack cops with stones.
Constable Concillia Gumbo and Phiri — who had stepped out of the police motor vehicle — were reportedly stoned by Mwanaka and his accomplices. The gang allegedly attacked Phiri with booted feet and stones.
Other police officers spotted their colleague being attacked and rushed to rescue him. They rushed their injured colleague to Morris Depot where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Mwanaka was arrested on July 8 after being identified by one of the cops who had witnessed the murder.
Evidence against Mwanaka includes a close circuit television footage in which he was captured committing the offence.
Traffic police officers who were manning that area are lined up to testify in the case.
Three MDC officials are currently serving 20-year jail terms each after they were found guilty of murdering a police officer, Petros Mutedza, in May 2011.
The three — Last Maengahama, Tungamirai Madzokere and Yvonne Musarurwa — were part of the original group of 29 Glen View residents who were charged with contravening Section 47 of the Criminal Law Act.
Of that original group, some were found not guilty and released at the close of the State’s case in 2013, while one of the MDC activists — Rebecca Mafikeni — succumbed to ill health while incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
The remaining three were acquitted when they appeared before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu in September last year when he jailed the three MDC officials.