ARMED police covered every inch of ground in Harare’s Glen View suburb on Tuesday as the High Court trial of 29 MDC-T activists accused of murdering a police officer came to town.
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ordered the inspection in loco at Munyarari Bar in the suburb to enable witnesses to explain how Inspector Petros Mutedza was beaten to death on May 29.
Dozens of police officers armed with AK47 rifles, baton sticks and teargas canisters patrolled the high density suburb, controlling traffic and barking orders at onlookers.
Riot police in truck-mounted water cannons were also positioned next to the roads leading into the suburb as the ZRP pulled all stops to avoid the disruption of the court session.
The 29 MDC-T activists, including youth leader Solomon Madzore, the judge, defence lawyers, state prosecutors, prison officers and prison officers were later taken to the crime scene in Glenview 3 under tight security.
Prosecutors say the 29 activists were part of a large group that gathered at Glen View 1 shopping centre on May 29 for an unsanctioned gathering they dubbed the “MDC-T T-shirt visibility day”.
Six police officers commanded by the late Inspector Petros Mutedza peacefully dispersed the crowd. But the trial heard the activists regrouped at Munyarari Night Club in Glen View 3 shopping centre where they started chanting party slogans and being rowdy.
When Inspector Mutedza and his police reaction team confronted the group, the activists became violent and started shouting ‘matatya ngaawurawe’ [kill the frogs]. Stones, empty bottles and bricks were allegedly thrown at the police officers.
Prosecutors say five officers escaped, but Inspector Mutedza fell to the ground before the mob surrounded him, trampling all over his body, kicking and pelting him with bricks until he died.
All the 29 suspects – who are represented by four lawyers – deny the charges and accuse the police of simply rounding up known MDC-T activists in the area.
The trial continues.