By Matabeleland North Correspondent
AWARD WINNING Victoria Falls based poet Obert Dube says he fractured an arm and thigh and was left coughing blood after being assaulted by five police officers who accused him of loitering in violation of a government curfew against the spread of Covid-19.
Dube, who is reigning 2020 Pan African Poet of the year, says police met him walking to his sick brother’s house around 10pm Wednesday night.
The 2016 National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) winner said after handcuffing him, the five officers took turns to slap, kick and beat him with batons while threatening to kill him.
He fractured his upper left limb, thigh and injured his back and chest.
Doctors have recommended X-ray on his injured upper limb and chest.
Dube paid $500 admission of guilty fine.
He has however filed some charges against the police but is yet to identify his assailants with the ZRP reportedly uncooperative in identifying its members involved in the assault.
“I was going to see my brother who is not feeling well and is getting worse,” Dube told NewZimbabwe.com
“I was very wrong according to the current curfew law that runs between 6pm and 6am. Police officers, four in uniform and one in plain clothes didn’t ask me why I was not at home but had to slap me. I didn’t resist arrest at all.”
Unable to bear the abuses, Dube said he fled into a nearby house and the police followed and fished him out despite pleas by the owner of the house.
“They handcuffed me and took me out of the yard where they started kicking and slapping me and also beat me with batons,” further narrated Dube.
He said residents began gathering and the police dragged him to Mkhosana Police base.
“One police officer said ‘rikuridza mhere kuti vanhu vakuone. Tinogona kukuuraya hapana zvaunoita’ (you are making noise to draw attention. We can kill you and you can’t do anything about it. We were trained to kill and we can kill you even now, that’s not a problem).
“Another police officer said ‘laphana besikukhuza kathesi sesikutshaya ngoba uyazimangalisa (earlier we were rebuking you but right now we have to beat you thoroughly because you want to show off’.
“They started to beat me again and only stopped when they saw a car approaching. My cell phone was partly damaged and my left hand got injured,” he said.
Dube said he struggled to get a letter of request for treatment from the police.
The document finally handed to him only states that he was assaulted without details of the assailants.
A medical report seen by this publication states that Dube suffered a painful left upper limb, left thigh, chest, and back and was also coughing blood.
“I am coughing blood. My chest is painful, my left hand and left thigh look dislocated and I am in pain.
“I was told to write a report and I am asking for the names of those police officers, but no-one wants to tell me.
“I reported a case of bullying and death threats, but I have not been given update,” he said.
Police could not readily comment on the matter, which comes as the country is in level 4 lockdown with the curfew running between 6pm and 6am.
Dube is reigning Bulawayo Arts Award (2020) poet of the year with the poem Africa which also landed him the 2020 Pan African Poet of the year at the 9th Panafes Excellency Awards event held in Douala Cameroon on December 9 last year.
He also holds an honorary Pan African award courtesy of renowned Kenyan Pan Africanist, orator, political and social analyst Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba and his charity organisation PLO Foundation in May 2019.
Outside the country, he has been recognised in Swaziland in 2017 at a national poetry competition sponsored by SWAMA and in South Africa where he was voted best poet at an event sponsored by Kingdom Blue in 2019.