Zimbabwe: 21 Harare Councillors Arrested

30 October 2020

Municipal Reporter

SECURITY officers in plain clothes yesterday swooped on Harare Town House and rounded up 21 councillors and three journalists attending a full council meeting, in a dramatic search for the deputy Mayor Luckson Mukunguma who fled through the back door.

Some council heads of department present were also caught up in the dragnet.

They were all bundled at the back of four police trucks before being taken to Harare Central Police Station.

The security officers did not say the charges being preferred.

When reached for comment, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) denied links with the security officers in question.

ZACC's general manager Investigations Ms Sukai Tongogara said her office was not handling such a case.

"We are not aware of that case. Just check with SACU or the police," she said.

National Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi and SACU head Mr Tabani Mpofu also denied involvement in the case.

The three security officers -- two men and one woman -- then ordered councillors, council management and journalists covering the full council meeting to stay put in the chambers pending further instructions.

Despite identifying themselves as journalists on duty, the three were detained at Town House together with the councillors for close to an hour.

"May you kindly co-operate with us as two of my officers will be taking your details," said one of the security officers.

The team then jotted down names, identification number details, home addresses, mobile phone numbers and the ages for all the detained people.

After collecting the details, armed police officers with guns and batons arrived at Town House and ordered all the people into the trucks.

They drove to Harare Central Police Station where those rounded up spent another three hours in the staff carpark under police guard.

Lawyer Mr Chris Mhike of Atherstone & Cook arrived around 8pm and successfully negotiated for the release of the three journalists.

Deputy Mayor Mukunguma later arrived and surrendered himself.

"I was having some stomach pains when l left the council chambers. I was just upset," he said while giving details to the security team.

Councillors and council management were still at Harare Central Police station well after 8pm.

Council executives arrested included acting chamber secretary Mr Charles Kandemiri, principal communications officer Mr Innocent Ruwende, councillors Anthony Shingadeya, Loveness Gomba, Stewart Mutizwa, Joseph Kunashe and Elvis Ruzani.

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