HARARE – A lawyer representing pro-democracy activists, including Patson Dzamara and Linda Masarira, yesterday humiliated the arresting officer for plagiarising the same statement previously submitted in court by his colleague.
Obey Shava was representing Dzamara and Masarira together with Makomborero Haruzivishe, Rangarirai Mhende and Leverage Masvondo who are being charged with insulting cops.
They appeared before Harare magistrate Gamuchirai Siwadi.
Masimba Masiyatengwa, one of the officers who formed a crack team that arrested the #Tajamuka members, was shocked when Shava exposed that the statement he had tendered only differed with that of his teammate Gift Chingwaru on the signatures.
“Are you aware that your statement and that of your teammate Chingwaru are similar word-for-word except for signatures? Would it also be by coincidence that where you put a bracket, comma or full stop, he did the same?” Shava asked.
“It is clear that the statements were created by one person based on what you wanted to show the court which is not what actually happened on the day in question,” he said.
Masiyatengwa was reluctant to comment on the issue saying he did not have a say over what his colleague had penned.
Shava further accused Masiyatengwa of lying because his evidence differed with Chingwaru, who had testified before him.
“You just told the court that Dzamara and Masarira had to be manhandled to be put into a police vehicle but when Chingwaru testified in this court, he said the accused persons entered into the car freely.
“You also say there were about 200 people in Harare Gardens that day yet Chingwaru said 500,” Shava added.
Masiyatengwa maintained that he could comment on his colleague’s evidence and further claimed that Masarira conducted herself violently on the day that she had to be bundled into the police vehicle.
“We discovered that there were a group of about 20 people who were wearing black T-shirts and caps addressing each other in the park.
“As we drew closer, some of them disappeared and these accused persons remained behind,” Masiyatengwa said.
“The second accused person became violent and started shouting at us before her colleagues joined in leading to their arrest.”
In response, Shava queried why the police officers failed to record any statements from the crowd alleged to have witnessed the melee.
Prosecutor Oscar Madhume alleged that on October 14, last year, Dzamara and his accomplices — including others who are still at large — gathered in Harare Gardens for undisclosed reasons.
The court heard that activists were clad in black T-shirts inscribed “The End Game, A New Zimbabwe is Possible.”
Dzamara and his team were reportedly approached by police officers on duty who wanted to establish the purpose of their gathering.
It was alleged that some of the accused persons ran away.
Dzamara, Masarira, Haruzivishe, Mhende and Masvondo remained behind and police enquired from them why they had gathered.
They reportedly became abusive and insulted the cops saying “Muri imbwa dzevanhu mapurisa, isu hatisungwe nembwa (Police are dogs and we will not be arrested by dogs)” and “Police you are puppets”.
The trial continues on February 9.