AN MDC-Alliance legislator has called on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to speedily institute investigations into the fatal shooting of a Bulawayo man by police.
Paul Munakopa (34) was shot and killed by police in Bulawayo Saturday night following a high-speed vehicle chase.
Munakopa, who was in the company of his girlfriend, Tracy Mufudzi died a few minutes after he was admitted at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).
The pair, according to reports, had been parked at a spot in a city suburb when police and members of the neighbourhood watch committee driving an unmarked Prado, confronted them.
Ilos Nyoni, the MDC-Alliance MP for Bulawayo East where the fatal shooting took place, said the incident has left residents in the constituency shocked and uncertain about their personal security in the hands of law enforcement agents.
Said Nyoni, “The unfortunate shooting by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) of a vehicle resulting in the untimely death of the driver, Paul Munakopa (34) of Matsheumhlope on Saturday night of 23 May, 2020 at Hillside suburb was sad and uncalled for.
“The incident has left residents shocked and uncertain about their security.
“I call upon ZHRC and the NPRC to speedily institute investigations on the conduct of the police operatives in question. Offenders must be brought to book.”
The MP pointed out that Section 48 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe guaranteed every citizen the right to life and it was unfortunate Munakopa lost his life in the hands of those who were supposed to protect it.
“Section 219 (1)(c) of the Constitution out of which the Police Service Charter is derived further defines the functions of the police as protecting and securing the lives and property of the people.
“Thus, the murder of Munakopa by police operatives is a clear violation of the right to life and a failure to do one’s duties,” the parliamentarian said.
Nyoni also questioned the logic behind police only identifying themselves when they had already shot Munakopa.
“The men blocking the deceased vehicle only identified themselves as police officers after the shooting.
“Is it now a policy that police shoot first and ask questions later?
“It is crystal clear that the couple had not committed any offence that deserved such heavy-handed treatment from the police,” said the MP.
The MP said he and fellow legislator, Jasmine Toffa Tuesday visited Hillside police station with the intention of raising residents’ concerns over the issue but the officers were uncooperative.
“A visit today by myself and Hon J. Toffa to Hillside police station for a meeting with the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) did not yield any results.
“The OIC denied us audience on the pretext that she needed to get authorisation from her superiors in order to talk to us on the issue,” he said.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi Monday described the incident as unfortunate but claimed that Munakopa’s Honda Fit was suspiciously parked in one of the suburbs, prompting reaction from police and the neighbourhood watch team on patrol.