ASSISTANT Inspector Tevedzerai Shonhai, who led a police reaction team from Warren Park police station in Harare on the day five CCC members allegedly staged an illegal demonstration during the lockdown period in May 2020, said the gathering had between 70 to 100 people.
He said this while testifying in the matter where Joana Mamombe, Stanley Manyenga, Cecilia Chimbiri, Lovejoy Chitengu and Makomborero Haruzivishe, are charged with participating in a gathering with intent to commit public violence and alternatively, violating Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
They all denied the charges when their trial opened before Harare regional magistrate Mr Tinei Manwere.
Yesterday, Asst Insp Shonhai told the court that he used two tear smoke canisters to disperse the gathering since they were out-numbered by the protestors.
Although he acknowledged seeing Manyenga, Chimbiri, Chitengu and Haruzivishe, among the people who allegedly demonstrated on the day in question, Asst Insp Shonhai told the court that he identified Mamombe because he knew her as a Member of Parliament.
He testified that he never heard Mamombe threatening, insulting or saying abusive words when they were allegedly gathered in Warren Park.
Asked by Mr Alec Muchadehama, who is representing the five, to comment on whether the alleged gathering disturbed public peace, Ass Insp Shonhai replied: “No formal report was made at the police station”.
Mr Muchadehama said Mamombe was undertaking a research on how people were affected by Covid-19, monitoring things on ground and doing food relief duties as a legislator on the day Asst Insp Shonhai spotted her in Warren Park.
He also said Mamombe was part of a Harare Covid-19 taskforce team comprising all 24 legislators drawn from Greater Harare area, which was on the ground monitoring the effects of the pandemic.
Asst Insp Shonhai said he was not aware of the taskforce and was not alive to Mamombe’s duties.
Two other police officers from Warren Park police station, who were part of the reaction team, also testified as State witnesses.
The five CCC members are expected to be back in court on July 24 for trial continuation.
Mr Tafara Chirambira and Miss Polite Muzamani prosecuted. Herald