BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
LAWYERS representing Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporter Godfrey Karembera, who was allegedly brutally tortured in police custody, have accused the police of falsely claiming that he had attempted to deface Mbuya Nehanda’s statue.
Karembera, affectionately known as Madzibaba Veshanduko, was being represented by human rights lawyer Douglas Coltart yesterday when he appeared before Harare magistrate Barbara Mateko.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was quoted by the State media saying Karembera was arrested for trying to deface Mbuya Nehanda’s statue, an allegation which was not listed in the court papers.
But Coltart refuted the allegations, saying he was illegally arrested and detained. He said Karembera was actually over-detained as he was arrested on Thursday at 0830am and attended to on Saturday at 2pm.
He said evidence provided by Karembera’s doctor Jonathan Fernandes, who examined him at the Harare Central Police Station was that he had fresh bruises and lacerations caused by beating.
Coltart said Fernandes revealed that Karembera was struggling to walk due to the beating on his feet, while he had a swollen eye.
He said Karembera failed to appear in court because he was in bad state at Parirenyatwa Hospital where he is admitted.
Karembera was arrested for wearing CCC regalia in the Harare central business district by one Constable Manyeruke and others. They then brutalised him.
“Nyathi is quoted saying the accused person was arrested for attempting to deface the Mbuya Nehanda statue. There was no allegation relating to that on the court papers and it is common cause that the accused was more than 300 metres away from the Mbuya Nehanda statue. Nyathi lied and we don’t know where he got that from. He wanted to create his own narrative after the abuse of the CCC activist,” Coltart said.
Mateko postponed the matter to today for continuation of the application challenging Karembera’s placement on remand. The complainant is being represented by Brilliant Thembelani Nyathi.
It is alleged that on March 17 at the intersection of Julius Nyerere Way and Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare, the complainant was on duty and on patrol with other police officers when they met the accused person who was dressed in a yellow rob and chanting slogans.
The police officers advised him to stop, but he did not heed their call and allegedly insulted them, resulting in his arrest.
It is alleged that the accused person turned violent trying to resist arrest, but he was eventually subdued, handcuffed and taken to Harare Central Police Station.