HARARE – Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi has been subpoenaed to court February 17 to give his testimony in a case in which Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere stands accused of publishing falsehoods.
Accusations against the opposition official arise from a video that went viral in 2020 showing a wailing woman who was tussling a uniformed police officer claiming the operative had killed her baby.
Mahere, through her Twitter handle, allegedly relayed the claims that police had killed the infant, something that was later dismissed as untrue by police.
Several news outlets also reported the incident claiming an overzealous police officer who was enforcing the country’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations at an illegal bus stop along Harare’s Second Street Extension had accidentally struck and killed the infant with a baton stick.
However, police were quick to accuse Mahere of publishing falsehoods through her Twitter claims.
Nyathi, as police spokesperson, issued a statement confirming a “fracas” had indeed taken place while also promising to bring to book the errant police officers.
In the ongoing Mahere trial, prosecutors have refused to accept a statement by Nyathi confirming the assault.
The statement in question was issued two days after the incident took place before the ZRP made a U-turn refuting the claim while saying the child at the centre of the storm was alive.
While giving her evidence on Tuesday, Mahere maintained her innocence, telling court she did not lie.
Mahere said what she tweeted was based on a video which went viral on social media arguing she could not be blamed for that.
“The evidence in court by the mother of the baby said she believed the baby had died and she also confirmed that everybody who was around her believed the police officer had killed the baby,” she said.
Mahere also stated that the investigating officer confirmed that several media outlets also wrote the baby had died guided by the same footage.
“My tweet was based on the video that l had tweeted and l had no reason to believe the baby had not been killed as the people who were present said the baby had been killed.
“The baby’s mother who was at the scene also said she believed the baby had died,” Mahere said.
Appearing for the state, Sheila Mupindu quizzed the CCC politician why she failed to verify claims of the child’s purported death before posting falsehood on a platform accessible to a wide audience.
In her response, Mahere said she had no reason to do so as what she witnessed on the video was self-explanatory.
She also said she never undermined the police but encouraged them to uphold the constitutional rights of ordinary citizens.
Mahere also told court that when she said “police must fall”, she meant that any unconstitutional use of force by police officers should come to an end.
Her lawyers, Chris Mhike and Peter Drury asked the court to give an order summoning Nyathi to come and confirm his statement which the State refused to accept on grounds that it was not verified.
Magistrate Taurai Manuwere ordered that Nyathi be summoned for February 17.