A ZIMBABWE National Water Authority (Zinwa) senior official was last week assaulted by Marimba police officers for allegedly conducting a media tour of b
urst water pipes without police clearance.
Nicholas Mukarakati, Zinwa’s spokesperson, was allegedly beaten up by two officers in the presence of several local journalists after he was accused of contravening provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) by moving around with more than three people.
One of the journalists who witnessed the assault said the officers demanded to know what Mukarakati and the journalists were doing as a “crowd”.
The incident took place when the scribes were shooting pictures outside Marimba Police Station.
Mukarakati confirmed the officers assaulted him.
“Journalists were taking photographs while some were having soft drinks when the police officers arrived and started harassing them,” Mukarakati said. “I realised that something was wrong and I moved closer to find out what was going on. The police officers asked me if I was the head of the delegation and I answered — no. I told them I was a public relations officer with Zinwa. That is when the started beating me up.”
The Zinwa official said he was told that under Posa it was illegal to have such a large crowd and not have a police clearance.
Mukarakati said they were initially supposed to conduct the media tour with Munacho Mutezo, the Minister of State for Water Resources and Infrastructural Development, but the minister was later summoned to attend a parliamentary session.
“Whenever we have a media tour with the minister, we never seek a police clearance, so I was quite surprised,” said Mukarakati. Mukarakati later filed an assault report at the same station — RRB 0138008.
This week, police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka could not give a comment on the matter, saying he had not yet received any report on the alleged incident.