Conductor’s murder: Driver speaks out 

Source: Conductor’s murder: Driver speaks out | The Herald

Conductor’s murder: Driver speaks out

Crime Reporter 

The body of the 28-year-old kombi conductor who was fatally assaulted more than two weeks ago in Whitehouse, Harare, allegedly by four policemen, who are on the run is still at Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary as the family awaits the burial order.

The post-mortem was conducted  after the body had been transferred from Sally Mugabe Central Hospital where the conductor had died on September 17,  following the assault on September 14. 

Luke Zuze, who was fatally assaulted by the four wanted police officers, had allegedly refused to pay them a bribe for carrying passengers in a kombi not registered under the Zupco franchise, resulting in a scuffle.

The assault happened at around 5:30pm along Granary Road and the conductor died three days later in hospital. The kombi driver, George Pirwa, yesterday spoke on what happened. 

“We were coming from Mbare and when we were near Whitehouse, we pulled off the road to drop off some passengers. That is when two of the police officers confronted us, telling us that we had been arrested.

“One of the police officers jumped inside the vehicle while the other one remained standing outside. Zuze walked towards the door on the driver’s side since he was outside the vehicle and took the car keys and then ran towards the shops at Whitehouse,” he said

Pirwa said the police officer standing outside the vehicle gave chase and caught Zuze about 70 metres away from the kombi.

“I remained in the vehicle with the other police officer and a few minutes later he received a phone call from his colleague who informed him that he had managed to arrest the conductor. The police officer then ordered me to disembark from the vehicle so that we go to the scene where Zuze had been arrested.

“When we arrived at the scene, I discovered that Zuze had been handcuffed and was lying facing downwards and writhing in pain. The police officer that had arrested him was assaulting him also before his colleague joined in the assault. Zuze later shouted that he had broken his left leg when the police officer tripped him to the ground during the arrest,” he said.

Pirwa checked Zuze’s leg and discovered that it was broken. A few minutes later, an unregistered white Toyota Mark 11, that the police officers were using arrived at the scene carrying two other police officers, one in plain clothes, and one in uniform and who is believed to be a sergeant.

They then ordered Pirwa to get inside the vehicle before bundling Zuze inside the vehicle and they drove along High Glen Road before   stopping the car just after the roundabout near High Glen Shopping Centre.

“They then started to threaten us with detention and that they were going to prepare dockets for us so that we will be sent to court for prosecution. As we argued in their vehicle I then phoned my colleague called Ronald so that he would attend to my vehicle which I had left in Whitehouse.

“I ran out of airtime and one of the police officers on the front seat asked for Ronald’s number so that he would call him. He called Ronald using his mobile phone and ordered him to attend to my vehicle and would give him the car keys later on,” Pirwa said.

‘‘After the phone call, they then drove to Sally Mugabe Hospital where one of the officers made arrangements to ensure that Zuze was admitted, Pirwa said.

The officers then asked for his driver’s licence and took the kombi keys before they disappeared.

Pirwa remained with Zuze at the hospital and the following morning he went to a police base in Whitehouse to make a report.

Some officers at the police base are reported to have phoned one of the police officers who made the arrest asking him on what had transpired. 

They had managed to get his mobile number since he had once phoned Ronald using his cellphone the previous day.

The police officer is alleged to have told them that they were handling the case and had opened a docket at Marimba Police Station. He was asked for the reference number but failed to give it.

Pirwa was then ordered to go to Marimba Police Station and when he went there, he discovered that no such report was made. Efforts to locate these four policemen at Marimba Police Station were fruitless as they are not based at that station.

Officers at the police station then opened an assault report since Zuze was still in hospital.

Zuze died a few days later and the report changed from assault to murder before being referred to CID Homicide for further investigations. 

Pirwa said they were informed by hospital officials that for a post mortem to be conducted, there was need for the body to undergo Covid-19 tests. 

The test was conducted and Zuze tested positive.

The body was then referred to Parirenyatwa Hospital where post-mortem for such cases are conducted. 

The forensic post mortem was conducted on Wednesday this week September 29, and results are expected within 30 days.

The family is now waiting for burial order. Zuze, who stayed in Westlea, is survived by his wife and two children, one aged five and a new-born baby.