Teary Cowdray Park sisters narrate police attack ordeal

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

NOKUTHULA Mpofu, one of the Cowdray Park sisters who were allegedly severely attacked by the police on April 16 while buying food, on Monday broke down as she and her sister narrated their ordeal in court.

“In all my life, I have never been assaulted the way the police officers did to me.

“They made us to sit down and kicked me with booted feet on my thighs.

“When I managed to get up, I realised that I had sustained serious injuries and my clothes were covered in blood,” Nokuthula told court.

She said when their names were called out at the police Cowdray Park station for booking, she could hardly walk.

“I was left almost out of breath. When our names were called out so that we could be booked, I couldn’t walk, I had to crawl to the officer,” she said.

She told the court that up to now, she still felt the pain from the injuries.

As a result of the beatings, she said, one of her fingers has since been deformed.

Her sister, Ntombizodwa identified Simbarashe Bvekwa and Tichaona Zariro as the two police officers who assaulted her.

“I have no problem with these other four; we picked them from the parade because they were part of the group on the day. These two (Bvekwa and Zariro) are the ones who beat us, what they did to us was beyond mere assault,” she said.

Tinashe Dzipe, the lawyer representing the fingered cops, objected the production of pictures of the injuries allegedly sustained by Mpofu in court.

Dzipe argued that according to the victim’s testimony, the pictures had been taken by her daughter; hence she (the daughter) was the one who was supposed to come and confirm them.

Patson Gumoreyi is being represented by Bob Sansole of Sansole and Senda Legal Practitioners while Gary Sengweni of Sengweni Legal Practitioners is representing Elizabeth Denhere, Zibusiso Masuku and Christabel Munyondo.

For the State, Kenneth Shava, assured the court that arrangements would be made to bring in the minor to testify if indeed she was the one who captured the images.

The alleged incident happened while police were enforcing government’s lockdown measures imposed during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Under the measures, citizens were supposed to stay in their homes and only limit their movement to the shops to buy basics.

According to the state, the sisters met the police officers who they told they were coming from the shops to buy meat.

The police officers then allegedly grabbed the women by their hands and hit them with baton sticks several times on their buttocks.

“During the process, Ntombizodwa’s cellphone, which was in her back pocket got damaged. She then approached the accused persons to tell them that they had damaged her phone,” Shava told the court.

The women were released after paying fines of ZWL$200 each.

Western Commonage Magistrate Gladmore Mushowe postponed trial continuation to September 15.