MDC Alliance calls for an independent inquest on the ‘untimely’ death of Paul Munakopa

Paul Munakopa was allegedly shot by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), on May 23 at Hillside suburb in Bulawayo
Paul Munakopa was allegedly shot by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), on May 23 at Hillside suburb in Bulawayo

BULAWAYO- MDC Alliance has called for an independent inquest on the ‘untimely’ death of Paul Munakopa who was allegedly shot by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), on May 23  at Hillside suburb in Bulawayo,TSTnews has heard.

By Takudzwa Ndoro

TSTnews has received a statement from MDC Alliance Bulawayo Province Spokesperson Swithern Chiroodza who condemned the alleged shooting of the Munakopa.

“As the People’s party, the MDC Alliance condemns the shooting of a vehicle, by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), on Saturday night of May, 23, 2020 at Hillside suburb, which allegedly resulted in the untimely death of Paul Munakopa (34) of Matsheamhlope. 

“As the MDC Alliance, we proffer our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and relatives of the late Paul Munakopa,” Chiroodza said.

The opposition party has also demanded that ZRP Commissioner General Godwin Matanga, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission immediately institute an independent inquest to serve justice.

“We are totally shocked that the ZRP are seemingly violating Section 219 (1) (c) of the Constitution, and the police service charter, which calls upon them to protect and secure ‘the Lives and Property of the people’. 

Chiroodza said the shooting has left Bulawayo residents shocked and feeling insecure. 

“It was clearly uncalled for.       

“We are of the view that trained police officers would have, in terms of the law, identified themselves fully to Munakopa (MHSRIP) and his fiancee before asserting their authority. 

“That a police officer allegedly used his vehicle to block the deceased several times, and without identifying himself proceeded to shoot at the victim points to a possibility that the ZRP is now composed of people who may never have been well trained as police officers. 

“That police allegedly identified themselves after the shooting proves that ZRP is a police force and not a service,” Chiroodza added.

Furthermore, Bulawayo Province Spokesperson added that when Bulawayo East Parliamentarians, Jasmine Toffa and Ilois Nyoni approached Hillside Police Station on Monday to get an explanation on the issue, the Officer-In-Charge “inexplicably” denied them audience. 

Meanwhile, TSTnews understands that Chiroodza and Toffa on Wednesday visited the ZRP  for a meeting with the Officer In Charge did not yield any results as she again denied them audience with the pretext that she needed to get authorisation from her superiors.

“What makes this matter even more unacceptable is the fact that it has happened barely a month after the same Bulawayo police allegedly assaulted two women while in their custody. The two sisters, Nokuthula and Ntombizodwa Mpofu from Cowdray Park, are still recovering from the brutal treatment they received from the police last month. 

“The two Bulawayo incidents must certainly not be viewed in isolation since they a small part of a bigger problem. The ZRP has a long history of excessive use of force against peaceful and law-abiding citizens,” Chiroodza added. 

Meanwhile according to the MDC Alliance, this is not the first time police have shot people for no reason.

“A few examples will suffice: 

“In 1996, police shot and wounded University of Zimbabwe student, Garudzo Masenga in Harare. 

“In 1998, a junior police officer shot and permanently injured Paul Panganai at Hillside Teachers College. After the shooting, the police officer was promoted to the position of Superintendent. 

“In August 2001 heavily armed anti-riot police and soldiers shot into a crowd of 4000 workers who were on strike at the state owned ZISCOSTEEL Company. Three workers Samuel Masiyatsva, Never Daniels and Joshua Zimbwa died instantly, another two succumbed to injuries later on while 22 others were seriously injured.

“On March 11, 2007, police shot and killed Gift Tandare at a prayer meeting held at Zimbabwe Grounds. The shooting was not provoked.

“During October 2019, the police brutally beat up to death a Harare vendor who was under their custody. Hilton Tamangani’s lifeless body was found riddled with so many purple spots that helped to expose the heavy beating he experienced at the hands of the police before passing away.

“A few days ago, on May 23, 2020 police shot and killed Paul Munakopa of Matsheumhlope suburb in Bulawayo. 

“This well documented history clearly shows that the ZRP has scant regard for Section 48 (1) of Constitution of Zimbabwe wherein under “fundamental human rights and freedoms” it declares that ‘every person has the right to life.’

“Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Zimbabwe has ratified, holds that ‘every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.’

“Article 4 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights holds that “human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right.”

“The wanton behaviour of the ZRP will only end once there is a truly People’s government that will be able to hold the police more accountable. It is clear that the ZRP is behaving in such a careless manner simple because they do know already that the current illegitimate regime does not really care about the rights of the long suffering masses of Zimbabwe 

“Indeed, under a People’s government led by the People’s President Advocate Nelson Chamisa, priority will be given to ensure that Zimbabwe finally has a well trained and professional police service (not force) that will fully respect the rights of the citizens of the country,” Chiroodza added.