By Mary Taruvinga
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Godfrey Karembera, popularly known as Madzibaba Veshanduko, who last week endured brutality at the hands of the police has challenged his placement on remand arguing that he was held beyond the lawful 48-hour detention period.
His lawyer Doug Coltart said Karembera was arrested on Thursday 08:30am and only attended to on Saturday 1400 hours.
Karembera also told Harare magistrate Barbra Mateko that he was unlawfully arrested.
The State alleged he tried to deface the popular Mbuya Nehanda statue but through his lawyer, Karembera denied the allegations stating that police spokesman Paul Nyathi lied.
Interestingly, those allegations were not included in the court papers.
“Nyathi is quoted saying the accused person was arrested for attempting to deface Mbuya Nehanda statue. There was no allegations relating to that on the court papers and it is common cause that the accused was more than 300 meters away from the Mbuya Nehanda statue. Nyathi lied and we don’t know where he got that from. He wanted to create his own narrative after the abuse of the CCC activist,” Coltart said.
Karembera is being accused of undermining the authority of the police by insulting them.
Coltart presented evidence from doctor Jonathan Fernandes who examined Karembera at the Harare Central Police Station and he said he found Karembera with fresh bruises and lacerations of beatings.
Fernandes said Karembera was struggling to walk due to the wounds on his feet, had a swollen eye and unable to sit.
Coltart identified the lead attacker as one Constable Manyeruke.
“He was mistreated and assaulted under his feet using buttons ticks, he was also whipped on the back using a shambok. Officer commanding Harare referred the accused to Parirenyatwa Hospital,” Coltart said.
The lawyer also said Karembera was never asked to sign the warned and cautioned statement which was only given to the lawyer in court.
“We tried to raise the issue at the hospital and you indicated that the hospital room was not an appropriate place for me to make the submissions. I was disallowed to make the application. The accused person is before you illegally, tortured and over detained,” Coltart argued.
Magistrate Barbara Mateko postponed the matter to Tuesday.
The complainant is Brilliant Thembelani Nyathi.
Allegations are that on March 17 and at intersection Julius Nyerere way and Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare, the complainant was on duty and on patrol with other police officers namely Constables Innocent Name, Majoni Douglas, Tafara Pasipanodya and Purity Meke when they met accused person who was dressed in a yellow rope and chanting slogans attracting a crowd to the annoyance of other people who alerted the police.
The complainant and his fellow police officers approached Karembera and advised him to stop what he was doing.
It is alleged he ignored the police warning and he started shouting at the police officers saying “Mapurisa makamama, makajaira kushandiswa nana Chiwenga, muri imbwa dzevanhu, munoita semunotambiriswa goridhe sei”.
Loosely translated, it means: “You police officers are useless, and you are being used by (Vice President Constantino) Chiwenga. You are dogs. Why do you behave like you earn your salaries in sacks of gold?”
The police officers allegedly then told the accused person that he was under arrest.
It is alleged that the accused person turned violent trying to resist the arrest, but he was eventually subdued, handcuffed and taken to Harare Central Police Station.