Police ‘desert’ station after CCC candidate turns up to report arson: party

HARARE – Police in Bindura have been accused of refusing to take a criminal complaint by a Citizens Coalition for Change election candidate whose house was burnt down last Saturday, allegedly by a Zanu PF-linked vigilante group.

Oswell Shambare of Guwa Village returned to Rutope Police Base on Monday, now in the company of the party’s secretary general Charlton Hwende and other officials, but officers allegedly abandoned the station.

The CCC says Shambare lost three bicycles, food meant for his mother’s memorial, clothes and blankets in the arson attack on Saturday night. He was sleeping inside the bedroom hut at the time of the attack.

Shambare is the party’s Ward 18 candidate in a by-election scheduled for March 26.

Political violence … Oswell Shambare (in yellow T-Shirt) was sleeping when a mob set his bedroom hut on fire

Maureen Kademaunga, the CCC social welfare secretary, said: “The house was burnt after Zanu PF elements sent threats of unspecified punishment to Shambare for holding a CCC meeting at his homestead.

“The candidate who was sleeping in the house escaped death by a whisker after he woke up to flames with the roof on fire and voices outside threatening to burn him to death.

“Attempts to report a case of arson were unsuccessful after police at Rutope Police Base refused to take the case. Today again, the leadership led by secretary general Hwende, myself, our secretary for rural strategy Happymore Chidziva, Murwisi Zwizwai and Gilbert Kagodora attempted to make a report at the station but the police officers led by Constable Kamonere deserted the police station after refusing to entertain us.”

The CCC said it was concerned by the “inaction of institutions mandated to promote peace.”

“The CCC condemns the rise of election related violence propagated by groups linked to Zanu PF. We appeal to the police to uphold the violated person’s right to an effective remedy, and to investigate all cases of violence with impartiality and without undue political influence,” Kademaunga said.

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