By Kingston Ndabatei
POLICE authorities were Tuesday exposed as liars after issuing two completely opposite official accounts on the originality of a shocking video image of the country’s security forces torturing a handcuffed man.
On the video, a soldier is seen brandishing an AK rifle in the company of a police officer and another security official in civilian clothes, while committing the abuse.
The image was captured during a continuing crackdown by security forces on civilians linked to violent anti-government protests of 14-16 January this year.
It has caused huge embarrassment to the Zanu PF led administration after being aired by British broadcaster SkyNews.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba had earlier told journalists at a press briefing in Harare Tuesday that their investigations had indicated that the video was shot in 2016 “during a round up of touts”.
Charamba was forced to make a u-turn hours later when she issued a statement admitting the video was in fact shot during recent skirmishes.
The senior police officer went on to claim the concerned police detail on the video was on suspension when he committed the abuse.
“Constable Makumire 066913F was suspended from performing active police duties in September 2018 and is on bail for contravening Section 113 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act,” she said.
Charamba brazenly referred to her earlier denials as “reports” in apparent attempts not to inflict further damage to her reputation.
“Earlier reports had indicated that the video was shot in 2016, however upon further clarification from the investigating team it was established the video was actually shot on Saturday 26 January 2019,” she said.
Charamba, who had earlier refused to answer questions relating to police and military operations that have caused terror among citizens, had claimed that “seasoned” investigators had traced the identity of the owner of the commuter omnibus on the video, who confirmed the incident happened in July 2016.
“This vehicle has since been sold to about two people since the incident and we had to get around that,” Charamba had said.
“The commuter omnibus crew has been identified. The owner is now known and I wish he was here so you could interview him.”
She added that while the issue may have happened almost three years ago, investigations were underway to bring the culprits to book.
Following the broadcasting of the video, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was “appalled” by what he saw and had since ordered an investigation.