Inquest concludes ZRP officers assaulted and killed Chivhu suspect 

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By Mary Taruvinga

AN inquest into the death of Sharai Mukaro, who died under unclear circumstances while being held at Chivhu Police Station, has concluded that there was foul play by officers who apprehended her.

Chivhu magistrate, Henry Sande, has concluded that Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officer, Detective Steven Dondo, could have fatally assaulted Mukaro.

The deceased was being held on allegations of stealing US$1 000 and died in September last year after being tortured by Dondo.

Dondo had testified that Mukaro’s husband, Abinel, had told him that the deceased had heart problems.

However, three witnesses, including Abinel, his daughter Ivy and Abinel’s workmate Pastor Nelson Chirambadare, told court that Sharai was assaulted under her feet by ZRP officers while in police custody.

“According to a medical report, the cause of death was as a result of blood clots and indicated that several blows were inflicted upon her,” said the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) representing the family.

The inquest was only instituted after Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR issued a notice of intention to sue Dondo and his bosses, ZRP commissioner general, Godwin Matanga and home affairs minister, Kazembe Kazembe.

Chinopfukutwa said Dondo fatally assaulted Mukaro after threatening to kill her.

He also told the court that the conduct of police officers who tortured Mukaro to death was a breach of the constitutional obligation of the police service to protect and secure the lives of Zimbabwean citizens as provided for under section 219(1)(c) of the Constitution.

The human rights lawyer also formally requested that the criminal investigations into the death of the deceased, which were being handled by police officers from Chivhu Police Station, be conducted by law enforcement agents from another police station, as he does not reasonably expect police officers at Chivhu Police Station to investigate themselves and accord justice to his clients.

“On Friday 8 July 2022, magistrate Sande found that there is a possibility of foul play having been committed by some ZRP officers which led to the death of Mukaro,” said ZLHR.

“Sande ruled that there is a likelihood that the late Mukaro was assaulted by some police officers based at the Criminal Investigations Department at ZRP Chivhu Police Station.”