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Police accused as cases of opposition bashing pile up
Caiphas Chimete,The Standard (Zimbabwe)
April 15, 2007

POLICE seem reluctant to institute investigations in to cases where opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members and human rights activists have either been assaulted or killed by suspected State security agents, the opposition party has said.

Several cases involving the beatings and killings of people suspected to be anti-government remain a puzzle, some dating back to seven years.

MDC anti-Senate secretary-general, Tendai Biti, said last week they had long lost confidence in the police because they never investigated their complaints.

"Now we don't expect anything from a criminal state," Biti said. "They cannot investigate the cases because all what is happening is State terrorism; it's sponsored by the State."

He said the people who planned the attempted murder of Kuwadzana legislator Nelson Chamisa at the Harare International Airport were known but the police were turning a blind eye to the case.

Chamisa was assaulted at the airport by known assailants on his way to a parliamentary business trip in Brussels.

The other more recent cases include the sending of a live bullet to the offices of The Standard two months ago and the murder of former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation cameraman and technician, Edward Chikomba.

Chikomba was abducted from his home in Harare and his body was later found dumped by the roadside near Darwendale, about 60km away.

It is widely believed that Chikomba was murdered for allegedly transmitting the images of a battered MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to the international media.

Tsvangirai had been severely assaulted while in police custody.

The Standard deputy editor Bill Saidi said the police had not updated the newspaper on the investigations into the bullet incident.

"They just came here asked me and a few other people questions. That was the last time I heard from them," Saidi said.

Other outstanding cases include the bombing of the MDC headquarters in Harare in 2000, the bombing of the offices of Voice of the People Radio in
2002 and The Daily News printing press in 2001.

"Look at all these cases," said Biti. "No one has been arrested and the police are silent about them. It sends signals that they are part of Mugabe's plot to eliminate the opposition."

MDC activists Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya were murdered in cold blood in 2000 but the suspects remain free despite mounting local and international pressure for them to be prosecuted.

Central Intelligence Organisation operative Joseph Mwale, the alleged killer of two, remains a free man.

Police chief spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, said he was out of Harare and would only be able to comment after getting the information from the investigating officers.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi could not be reached for comment.

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