A tribunal for a police officer who allegedly insulted President Emmerson Mnangagwa and threatened to arrest Zanu PF members has begun.
Constable Tapfuma stationed at Tongwe base in rural Beitbridge is being charged with contravening Paragraph (5) 35 of the Schedule to the Police Act, Chapter 11. 10 as read with sections 29 and 34 of the said Act: Acting in an unbecoming and disorderly manner or in any manner prejudicial to good order and discipline and reasonably likely to bring discredit to the police service”.
The case which began on Wednesday, was presided by Chief Superintendent Nyongo, and prosecuted by Constable Chagomoka.
Constable Tapfuma is represented by Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys.
“We made an application for the trial to be electronically recorded. Our application for the proceedings to be recorded was dismissed, and the presiding officer indicated that the police don’t have such facilities, but we were granted the opportunity to set up our own recording machine at our own expense. So, the proceedings shall be recorded electronically. The matter has been postponed to 20 June 2023,” Sithole told CITE in an interview after the tribunal.
The state’s case is that on 14 May 2023 at around 6.30 pm at Vendason Bottle Store where he was drinking beer and playing snooker with other patrons, Constable Tapfuma insulted and threatened to arrest three Zanu PF members who were also at the bottle store.
The complainants are Mauritius Nare, Junior Ngorima and Freddy Sibindi.
“Upon noticing the three, the defaulter started insulting them saying, imi madhara eZanu PF munoita titambure, mukauya ku base kwangu makapfeka hembe ye Zanu PF ndokusunga! Meaning to say ‘ZANU PF supporters are causing people to suffer and if they enter a police camp whilst wearing ZANU PF regalia he will arrest them. The defaulter went on to say that he has been deployed at Tongwe base to make sure MDC wins this year’s elections,” read part of the state outline.
“The defaulter’s conduct was not in line with the ZRP code of conduct and brings the name of the organisation into disrepute.”
According to Sibindi – a headman under Chief Sitaudze – the police officer, also claimed that he had assaulted one Habakkuk Ndou, a patron at the bottle store, for his allegiance to the ruling party.
“I heard Constable Tapfuma telling Habakkuk Ndou who has a scar on the thigh that it was them as MDC members who had assaulted him, He said “ronda raunaro wakarohwa nesu isu vanhu ve MDC“.
I rebuked him for uttering such sentiments. When I was about to leave the bottle store Constable Tapfuma grabbed me by hand and asked me which political party I belonged to. I replied that I belonged to ZANU PF and I was born a ZANU PF member. Constable Tapfuma started shouting at me saying “mhata dzenyu vanhu vezanuPF pamwe chete na President wenyu. Hamugoni kutonga. Iwe wakagumira grade 5, President wenyu akagumira grade 7. Mapurisa akadeployiwa kuno kuma ruzevha ndee MDC gore rino ZANU PF hamuhwini,nyika ndeyedu isu ve MDC” which means you ZANU PF followers together with your president you are not educated. You only attained education up to grade 5 level and your president up to grade 7 level. All young police officers who are deployed in all these rural areas belong to MDC. This year ZANU PF is not winning elections and MDC is going to win,” Sibindi testified.