45 police officers challenge detention
By Nyasha Dube
FORTY-FIVE suspended police officers have approached the High Court seeking an order to be released from Chikurubi Detention Barracks (DB) where they have been committed since January 4.
The officers, through their lawyer Tafadzwa Muvhami, have filed an urgent chamber application citing police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga, Assistant Commissioner (Harare province) Dube and Criminal Investigations Department Sergeant Zaranyika as respondents.
Assistant Inspector Raymond Chidyagwai and 44 other officers were ordered to report for duty on January 4 at Chikurubi Detention Barracks. Upon arrival, the officers were committed to hard labour without a time limit by the respondents as punishment after their recent suspension from the force for various reasons.
Since their arrival, the officers have reportedly been ordered by the respondents to carry out tasks that do not have anything to do with their official duties.
“From January 4, 2021, we have been ordered to carry bricks from one point to the other, sweeping the yard, watering the garden and working in the police fields and our supervisor’s fields, which have nothing to do with our duties.
“We are also ordered to fetch water for our supervisors and weed their gardens for their personal benefit. “The respondents have labelled us bandits and we actually work more than the other members who are committed to serve their sentences at Chikurubi DB,” Chidyagwai’s affidavit reads.
The officers also claim they are being exposed to inhumane punishment and treatment by their superiors. In their application, the officers want the High Court to grant an order that Dube and Zaranyika have no authority to place them on indefinite punishment as no court has convicted them of any wrongdoing.
“The applicants have not been committed to hard labour by any court of law and it appears that the 1st and 2nd respondents have turned themselves into a court of law with unfettered powers,” the officers claim.
The police bosses are yet to respond to the application.