BY SILAS NKALA

SECESSIONIST Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has petitioned government to register its displeasure over harassment and physical abuse of Bulawayo residents by State security agents, particularly at roadblocks.

MRP officials handed their petition at Mzilikazi Police Station yesterday.

The petition, dated September 2 and addressed to officer-in-charge Mzilikazi Police Station, was copied to the Defence, Justice and Home Affairs ministries, Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Judicial Service Commission, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Parliament of Zimbabwe.

Party president Mqondisi Moyo claimed that residents were being harassed and abused by soldiers and police officers along Luveve Road and in Emakhandeni for no apparent reason.

“As the people’s revolutionary party, we are compelled to write you this letter to demonstrate our displeasure with the conduct of the Zimbabwe uniformed forces manning the roadblocks along the roads leading to the western suburbs of Bulawayo. There is a lot of harassment, torture, and intimidation by your officers along Luveve Road at NOCZIM garage in Matshobana where soldiers and police officers demand exemption letters from the travelling public,” the petition read.

“Those passengers who are found with letters deemed not convincing will be detained for the whole day and made to sit on rocks while exposed to the hot weather. Often, most of these people will be women and elders, while in other instances citizens are made to pay bribes. At NOCZIM, Emagetsini in Emakhandeni and at the intersection of Masiyephambili Road, passengers, especially males are made to do press-ups. At Emakhandeni roadblock the male passengers were last week forced to swallow some stones by the uniformed forces. In the first days of the lockdown, some conditions were set that the Zupco buses should sanitise the passengers which is no longer the case. The other cause for concern is that in eastern suburbs, the citizens are no longer asked to produce exemption

letters. I took it upon myself to go to all the roads leading to the Bulawayo CBD from the eastern suburbs, and other roads, there are no roadblocks and no one is demanding letters from the passengers as has been the norm,” Moyo wrote.

“The treatment of the western suburb citizens at roadblocks by the soldiers and the police compared to their eastern counterparts is reminiscent of what was happening during the Ian Smith era where whites residing in eastern suburbs were treated as superiors while blacks in the western suburbs were treated as inferior and second-class citizens.”

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