Rights lawyers confront police boss over gassing of passengers

Zimstar News

Rights lawyers have demanded written guarantees by Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga his operatives will now stop endangering lives of innocent passengers by throwing teargas into loaded buses.

This they did in a petition this past week by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)’s Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe.

The action by the lawyers follows shocking scenes in which passengers of a Beitbridge bound Mulaudzi bus were forced to scramble out of the coach when some police details fired a teargas cannister into the bus.

The incident was captured on video and circulated via social media.

Police were trying to force the bus driver to stop amid indications he had ignored their orders to do so.

The ZRP has indicated it is investigating the incident.

But lawyers have gone on to demand written assurances from Matanga the condemned practice shall not happen again as this is now becoming a policing trend with a similar incident happening in Harare in October last year.

According to a ZLHR statement, the lawyers who have confronted the police chief insist, “the indiscriminate throwing of teargas canisters into loaded public transport vehicles amounts to excessive and unjustifiable use of force by ZRP members and amounts to a violation of the passengers right to human dignity and the right to personal security as provided for in Section 51 and Section 52 of the Constitution.”

Added the rights group, “The lawyers also advised Matanga that they are in the process of preparing a court application for the ZRP members’ conduct in question to be declared a violation of passengers’ fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution and for an order prohibiting such conduct.”