Police spokesperson says Mahere lied as dead baby tweet trial comes to an end

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By Staff Reporter

POLICE spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Paul Nyathi Wednesday told Harare magistrate, Taurai Manuwere that Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) spokesperson, Fadzai Mahere lied when she tweeted that a baby had been killed in 2020.

Nyathi was called in to testify after the State refused to accept his statement confirming the assault back then.

He told court that police only got to know of the incident on social media and when they were approached by senior government officials raising concern over the issue.

David Drury representing Mahere quizzed why Nyathi had called his subordinates ‘errant’ in a statement he issued on the incident.

In response the ZRP assistant commissioner said it was because the police officers did not report the incident to their superiors.

“We said errant police officers because they did not report to their commanders and that showed they acted in an improper manner, however that does not take away the fact that the child was not killed,” Nyathi said.

During cross examination by Netsai Mushayabasa representing the State, Nyathi added: “There was total chaos because of this false information. Even senior government officials were asking why this had happened.

 “ZRP is a public institution where if anything happened when the public are not clear they can check with station commanders to check if what is circulated is true or false,” Nyathi said.

The State closed its case in August last year but the matter was postponed on several occasions.

Mahere is accused of publishing falsehoods in a case involving a woman whose child was erroneously reported to have been struck to death by a baton wielding Harare police officer enforcing Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

The mother of the child is one Rebecca Musariri.

Also charged with the same offence are CCC lawmaker Job Sikhala and Hopewell Chin’ono.

ZRP refuted the claim and said the child at the centre of the storm was alive.

A video of the incident went viral in 2020, with the mother wailing while holding onto a police officer who had “allegedly assaulted her baby to death.”

Judgement will be handed down on March 24.