Zimbabwe: Helmet Saga - 12 Arrested As Police Intensify Patrols Over Demo Fears

Riot police (file photo).
14 October 2019

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has arrested 12 people in connection with the 256 helmets recovered at a basement office in Harare central business district yesterday.

The police announced that they recovered 210 anti-riot and 46 municipal police helmets after some officers had made a pursue of a group of people that allegedly attacked a police officer at the corner of Angwa Street and Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.

The helmet issue has sent tongues wagging on social media with most people arguing that the police "planted" the evidence to point fingers at the opposition MDC.

Prior to its August demonstration against the President Emmerson Mnangagwa government, the police said it had "intercepted" catapults and quarry stones, alleging the MDC wanted to use to commit violent crimes.

However, yesterday national police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they had arrested 12 people believed to have kept the cache.

He said the helmets were recovered after the group ran for life in the basement.

"A group of rowdy elements attacked a police officer who was about to meet his relative at Robinson House, these elements have declared the area a no-go area for police," he said.

"Some officers who were nearby came to intervene but were also attacked, forcing them to call for back-up from Harare Central Police Station. When the hooligans saw that they were now being overpowered, they ran into the basement with the officers in pursuit.

"It was during the chase that they came across the helmets stashed in one of the rooms in the basement," Asst Comm Nyathi said.

Those who were arrested for the crime are Helton Tamangani (29), Evans Chinganga (39), Tichaona Maziya (22), Petros Kaesa (44), Adoration Tafadzwa Madziwa (23), Lovemore Chitengo(42), Terrence Nyadundu (24), Robson Mutseta (31), Hillary Nyawasha (29), Wambo Denford (41), Blessing Chirodza (41) and David Tawanda Tedere (35).

This comes amid growing political tensions with whispers of a pending demonstration form the MDC and civil society over the dilapidating state of the economy.

Exiled former Cabinet Minister and Mnangagwa critic, Professor Jonathan Moyo sent a screaming message Sunday evening alleging that the police would be in full force Monday morning to thwart an impending demonstration.

"Word from the deep-state is that a massive crackdown by police with embedded army units is set for Harare tomorrow. The pretext is to preempt "anticipated protests"; the objective is to show force to instill fear, given rising tensions. Take care vanhu vamwari in Harare tomorrow!" he said.

The MDC Youth Assembly Secretary-General Ostallos Siziba yesterday issued a statement alleging that the young wing would take unspecified action as the economic and social situation in the country continues to plummet.

"The economic situation has reached alarming levels with prices skyrocketing and inflation going up. Life for the ordinary person has become unbearable. Citizens are waking up at the blessing of waterless taps, empty fridges and without electricity.

"The youth assembly has resolved that we press factory settings and face the incompetent regime to act on the crisis in Zimbabwe," said the statement.

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