State: Harare vendor’s death is still hearsay

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By Mary Taruvinga

PROSECUTOR Sebastian Mutizirwa on Monday shocked the gallery after he told a court that the death of a vendor, Tafadzwa Hilton Tamangani, who reportedly succumbed to assault injuries in the hands of police, was yet to be confirmed.

Tamangani made headlines on Friday amid reports he was denied medical attention while in remand prison.

He had been arrested along with 10 other vendors a week earlier after the said discovery of a cache anti-riot police pith helmets in the basement of a building in Harare’s CBD.

Mutizirwa made the denial when Tamangani’s alleged accomplices were brought to court on Monday.

Their lawyers Kudzai Kadzere and Marufu Mandevere applied for the court to make an order that an independent pathologist ascertain the cause of his death.

The lawyers appeared before Harare Provincial Magistrate Learnmore Mapiye also seeking immediate release of Tamangani’s alleged accomplices to receive medical treatment by any private doctors of their choice.

In the application, they also wanted Magistrate Mapiye to issue an order allowing for a private and independent pathologist to examine Tamangani’s remains.

“On Friday, we made a correspondence to the Harare Prisons Officer in charge and copied the Clerk of Court and Public Prosecutor of this court seeking that Tamangani be treated by a private doctor but he refused to accept the letter and consequently, he couldn’t receive medical attention.

“In the bail application, we had indicated that the eleven accused persons had been assaulted by the police at the time of arrest and suffered some injuries which we believe caused the death of the first accused,” the lawyers said.

“Therefore, we apply that whatever the outcome of the bail application, all 10 accused be taken to private doctors of their choice at the expense of the State and receive medical treatment as well as the court to order the State and all its agencies to allow an independent pathologist to examine the remains of the deceased,” said Kadzere.

Kadzere also prayed that Mapiye orders a thorough investigation surrounding Tamangani’s death.

In response, Mutizirwa argued that there was no legal basis for the application.

“Tamangani’s death is still hearsay,”Mutizirwa claimed.

“We don’t have a notice of death and all we have is hearsay, legally there is no document to confirm and as such, the application can only be entertained after the notice of death as part of the record,” said Mutizirwa.

The Officer-in-Charge of the Harare Central Prison identified as Kuvheya was summoned to the witness’ stand by Mapiye. Kuvheya confirmed he had been notified of the death by the officer in charge Harare Central Prison hospital wing and is also yet to receive the notice of death.

Ruling on the matter was postponed.

The ten vendors were also granted $100 bail each and were ordered not to interfere with witnesses, to reside at their given addresses and to report twice a week at Harare Central Prison.

Soon after their release, commotion took place outside the courts after vendors staged a demonstration accusing the police of killing their colleague.