A TOTAL of 16 vendors arrested Wednesday for allegedly assaulting Harare municipal police during the on-going exercise of removing informal traders from the streets, have told the courts of how they were tortured by the cops.
They are Samuel Wadzanayi,32, Godknows Maboyi,23, Farai Mashava,34, Sten Zvorwadza,46, Winnet Mubaiwa,33, Kuda Mudondo ,42, Lucy Makunde, 30, Bongani Zvikaita,26, Ireen Kamwendo,32, Memory Kanyarira,32, Spiwe Wema,30, Innocent Machokoto,27, Tendai Dube,35, Tinei Chikerema,24, Godfrey Chasai,29, and Grace Musa,45.
The 16 were arrested after they stormed Harare Town House demanding their wares confiscated by municipal police during the clean-up.
Through their lawyers, Sharon Hofisi and Jeremiah Bamu, the vendors filed an application contesting the way they were arrested.
They said the reasons for their arrest were not explained.
“A total of fourteen accused persons were simply rounded, pushed, shoved and assaulted in a small room where they could hardly breathe.
“After being placed under suffocating conditions, Mashava ,Wadzayi and Makuni were verbally harassed.
“In fact they were all beaten and assaulted indiscriminately. Zvorwadza was only arrested for setting up an appointment with the Town Clerk.
“Tendai was subjected to emotional torture and was caught up in a drag net arrest only because he had witnessed the assault of his fellow vendors and lost $220 he intended to spend on funeral expenses in Wedza. In this regard the mourners were also deprived,” said Hofisi.
Zvorwadza, who is also the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe chairperson, showed the court neck injuries he sustained during the scuffle.
However, magistrate Tendai Mahwe could not deliver his bail ruling on the matter as the accused had many submissions to give to the court.
He expected to deliver his ruling Friday.
Prosecutors argued that the accused were not suitable bail candidates.
Sebastin Mutizirwa, leading the state, said the accused have known previous records and were ring leaders in inciting violence against municipal police and were likely to abscond if released on bail.
State also argued that the detained vendors were likely to interfere with witnesses as the exercise to remove vendors of the streets was on-going.
Mutizirwa also said the accused were disregarding city by laws and vowing to remain in the streets further stating that some of their accomplices were still at large.
According to the state, on July 14 a municipal police team was in central Harare on an operation to remove illegal vendors and relocate them to designated vending sites.
The vendors allegedly acted aggressively and started attacking the law enforcement agents.
Reinforcement was summoned instantly resulting in the arrest of the detained group of vendors.