MDC MP confronts minister over police ‘football tackles’ on women protesters

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By Anna Chibamu

MDC MP for Kambuzuma, Willias Madzimure has condemned police for allegedly using “football” style tackles on women protesters in place of arresting them if crimes were ever committed.

He was speaking in parliament Tuesday following savage attacks on opposition supporters by anti-riot police recently.

Police pounced on MDC supporters who had gathered outside the main opposition’s headquarters to listen to party president Nelson Chamisa’s so-called Hope of the Nation Address. Many were left nursing injuries.

Images of police attacking the protesters went viral on social media, inviting wide condemnation over the apparent State excesses.

On Tuesday, Madzimure took the matter further, condemning law enforcement agents for showcasing their football prowess on protesters.

“Police now have a tendency of using so much force in dealing with any perceived disturbance,” he said in parliament.

“We have seen a lot of women being tackled by the police and this has sent a wrong signal to the international community and the people of Zimbabwe that our police do not arrest but they use dangerous tackles that cannot be used by soccer players, especially on women.

“Women have suffered the brunt of violence by the police and we have seen this happening in Harare.”

Mazimure called on Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe to come to parliament and explain why police had resorted to unorthodox enforcement methods.

“Can the (Home Affairs) Minister come and explain that. Is it because the police cannot arrest that they use button sticks and their feet to tackle women?” he said.

Madzimure also accused police of corruption during roadblocks which have resurfaced since the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe November 2017.

“Soon after 17th November 2017, we saw roadblocks disappearing on our streets.

“Six months from that time, we did not have any roadblocks but there was so much order on the roads and traffic was flowing very well.

“Madam Speaker, we have started seeing the mushrooming of more roadblocks and at those roadblocks, there is clear evidence that corruption by the police is starting again.

“… A lot of accidents have happened due to a number of drivers trying to avoid the police, not because they do not want the police to do their work but due to the fact that there is rampant corruption at the roadblocks.

“If the Minister would come and issue a Ministerial Statement and explain why it is now necessary to have so many roadblocks,” said Madzimure.