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Pressure mounts over killer cop

by Staff reporter
05 Jul 2020 at 19:01hrs | Views
POLICE are yet to identify the officer involved in the fatal shooting of a Bulawayo man with a senior official claiming provisions of the Inquest Act have now been invoked to ensure the case is not swept under the carpet after the family requested an independent probe.

Paul Munakopa succumbed to police gunshot injuries upon admission at a local hospital on the night of May 20 following a high-speed vehicle chase in Hillside, Bulawayo.

Munakopa's family dispute the police version that the deceased, who was in the company of his girlfriend, ignored orders to stop, forcing officers to open fire.

The officer, who shot Munakopa has not been identified or arrested with police only saying investigations are underway.

Last month, Munakopa's family wrote to the police demanding the involvement of private investigators to probe the incident that has again drawn sharp focus on the country's human rights violations by state security organs.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they had invoked provisions of the Inquest Act in investigations to pave way for the prosecution of the accused.

"That case, like I said, is being professionally handled," he said.

"We want all the documentation to be presented before the court for the normal process to be conducted.

"The stance of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been consistent and the case will not be swept under the carpet, and also, the provisions of the Inquest Act will be followed

"We have said that it was an unfortunate incident, which will be duly investigated."

An inquest is a judicial inquiry to determine the cause of a person's death.

A legal inquiry is held when the cause of death is unknown, violent or unnatural.

It is held in public and witnesses are called in to give evidence. Witnesses can also be cross-examined, and these include investigating officers and police officers who attended the scene.

Nyathi, however, said the ZRP took offence with the opposition and civic society organisations (CSOs) he claimed were using the fatal shooting of Munakopa to not only tarnish the image of the police force, but to cause despondency within its ranks.

"It's unfortunate we have people who are taking advantage of that case and are now trying to cause alarm and despondency within the society and within the security service," he said.

"It's really sad that you have some CSOs who are now riding on that case to gain popularity and raise all sorts of allegations. We, however, appeal for calm because that case will definitely be presented before the courts for the appropriate decision to be made by the courts."

The opposition MDC Alliance has called on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission to institute an inquiry into the fatal shooting.

Illos Nyoni, the legislator for Bulawayo East where Munakopa was shot, citing section 48 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe, argued "the murder of Munakopa by police operatives is a clear violation of the right to life and a failure to do one's duties."

The family's lawyer Nqobani Sithole said they were made to believe investigations into the matter were ongoing.

"They have been calling out witnesses and recording statements," Sithole said.

"The net effect of it is that investigations are in progress."

However, Nyathi said they had not received any official response to their request for an independent probe.

Six cops have since been arrested for brutally assaulting two sisters residing in Bulawayo's Cowdray Park suburb for allegedly violating the Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Source - The Standard