CL/175/11(a)-R.2- 39 -
Geneva, 1st October 2004
G.OBSERVATIONS SUPPLIED BY THE AUTHORITIES
1.Observations provided by the Police General Headquarters, in a document entitled “Memorandum, Response to allegations raised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, dated 1 July 2004”
In compiling the report, the mission has been very selective of the material chosen from the Police report of March 8, 2004 which is extensively quoted in the document. For example the arrest of Fletcher Dulini-Ncube and his treatment by the Police has been largely ignored, neither has it been rebutted through consultations with the complainants/informants. Why such relevant information which benefits the State has been left out can only leave one to speculate that the report was biased.
The report is generalised where it is intended to buttress the MDC position. For example under complaint by Ms. Masaiti she is allowed to get away with a statement like ‘supporters (MDC) who had made reports to Police were arrested’. Why she was not taken to task to reveal the identities of those who were arrested for making reports to the Police remains a mystery. Why should the Police arrest somebody for making a report?
Also under Silas Mangono there is gross misrepresentation when it is stated that ‘Silas Mangono who suffers from high blood pressure and needs medication every day, was denied food and medication for four days. Police, he said, refused even to give him the tablets which his wife had brought. We wonder whether a person with such a medical condition would survive the stress and deprivation of food for a whole four (4) days. Probably this is case for medical analysis!
The wanton destruction of property and endangerment to human life which have been part of the so‑called mass actions has not been properly captured in its true perspective in the commission report. The report belittles mass actions and stay-aways to a demonstration when in fact there has been loss of property and endangerment to human life. The Police report amply clarifies this position.
We find it difficult to understand how people who were not witnesses to an alleged incident can actually describe the circumstances. Under Ben Tumbare Mutasa it is stated "Doctor's reports (Avenues Clinic) state that he sustained among other injuries, abrasions and multiple bruises inflicted by batons, rifle butts and booted feet’. How does an injury indicate the specific weapons used?
Under the Paul Temba Nyathi column “Police attempted to make him sign a warned and cautioned statement to the effect that he had organised the mass stay-away with the intention of overthrowing the government.” Such a statement ignores the essence of a warned and cautioned statement and does not give an understanding of what a warned and cautioned statement is. A warned and cautioned statement is used to record the version given by a suspect of the circumstances pertaining to a particular case. And the key words are that the statement has been given freely and voluntarily and has to be signed by witnesses who saw the accused person recording his statement.
There is constant reference in the mission report to arrests made from ‘orders from above’. The insinuation made from this phrase is that Police authorities were directing junior officers to arrest where there was no reasonable suspicion of the commission of an offence. The responses to the individual cases below clearly show that people were arrested for prima facie cases where there was a complainant. The ZRP was obliged to investigate such cases reported to it if indeed there was going to be ‘rule of law’ in the country as advocated by the MDC and everyone else in the country.
While the above are some of the inconsistencies in the report, the Police report of March 8, 2004 clearly indicates and as elaborated below in the individual cases that:
a)action was taken against those who committed offences irrespective of their political affiliation and that
b)there were no arbitrary arrests but that people were arrested on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence.