THERE was pandemonium near Gweru Central Police Station yesterday when some Zanu-PF youths from Matabeleland region were involved in a scuffle with a female police officer.
They accused her of corruption and tearing a poster of President Robert Mugabe from the vehicle they were travelling in.
Traffic at the corner of Lobengula Street and Fifth Avenue near the police station came to a halt as the youths clashed with the policewoman identified as Constable Ndlovu who was in a Highway Patrol BMW.
The youths shoved her and removed her hat as they tried to show their disapproval of her actions. They accused the police officer of tearing the President’s poster as well as tearing a Youth League T-shirt that was worn by one of them.
A Chronicle news crew witnessed the incident which happened at around 3PM near the newspaper company’s Gweru offices.
The youths from Matabeleland South, Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces were coming from the Zanu-PF Youth League National Assembly in Harare.
Const Ndlovu parked her service vehicle before approaching the driver of the commuter omnibus which the youths were travelling in. The policewoman and the kombi driver then scuffled and the driver’s T-shirt was torn in the process. Youths who were on board the commuter omnibus then came out intending to help the driver.
ZANU-PF youths block the Cop as she tried to flee in her BM
Sensing danger, Const Ndlovu ran into her vehicle, closed its windows and locked the doors.
She tried to speed off from the scene but the youths would have none of it and blocked her way.
Const Ndlovu was then forced to reverse the vehicle into the parking zone. She took advantage of other motorists who opened space for her and reversed all the way to the main entrance of Gweru Central Police Station.
The youths then went into the police station where their driver was making a formal report.
Butholezwe Ngwenya, who was part of the youths, said they were coming from Harare when they met the police officers who stopped their vehicle and demanded that they give them $20 for a yet-to-be confirmed traffic offence. “When we were about to get into Gweru, we met the two officers who told the driver to pay $20 but he refused. We don’t even know what our offence is,” said Ngwenya.
He said that the female police officer went on to tear a T-shirt that was worn by one of the youths.
Witnesses said the police officers tried to arrest the kombi driver for operating without a permit.
Ngwenya, however, said the police tried to stop their vehicle in the middle of the road and their driver refused as he feared to endanger the lives of his passengers.
“We were coming from a meeting and the police officers who were in the BMW signalled our driver to stop but he couldn’t because we were in the middle of the road and there were buses and cars ahead and behind our vehicle.
“Our driver told the officers that he couldn’t stop as there was no parking space nearby and that the only place we could park at was the police station. The male officer told us that he was just doing his job and wanted to confirm whether we were illegally transporting people or not. However, the woman constable became violent and started accusing us of lying. That’s when she tried to tear the poster,” said Ngwenya.
“We want to know why she tore our poster and accused us of lying. Is it a crime to support our country? We were coming from a youth meeting with His Excellency and she had no right to tear our poster or call us names,” said one of the youths.
Efforts to get a comment from Midlands Province police spokesperson, Inspector Joel Goko, were fruitless as his phone was not reachable.