OPPOSITION MDC Alliance elections director, Henry Chimbiri, was seriously injured after he was caught in the crossfire and assaulted by Harare law enforcement agents pursuing illegal vendors on Friday.
BY SILAS NKALA
This was confirmed by MDC Alliance senior official Kurauone Chihwayi on Saturday, who indicated that Chimbiri was taken to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals after the attack, where doctors indicated the injuries he sustained on the face and lower part of his backbone were serious.
“MDC director of elections Chimbiri was attacked by members of the police service anti-riot squad while fuelling his vehicle at a service station in Harare,” Chihwayi said.
“He is receiving treatment at Parirenyatwa Hospital. Some of the culprits have been identified.”
He said doctors confirmed that he had sustained serious injuries and had carried out a second orthographic angle X-Ray.
Speaking to NewsDay from his hospital bed, Chimbiri said on Friday, he was number two in a fuel queue at a service station located at the corner Sam Nujoma Street and Kwame Nkrumah Avenue in Harare when motorists were asked to wait for an hour for a fuel tanker to finish offloading its contents.
He said he was sitting in his vehicle when he saw vendors being pursued by the anti-riot and municipality police, who were throwing teargas at them.
“I opened the car door to see what was happening and that is when I was dragged from behind by a police detail, who accused me of being a vendor, saying I was trying to hide in the car,” Chimbiri said.
“They seriously assaulted me. Even the service station attendant who came to my car to give me back my swipe card was assaulted in the melee.”
He said he questioned the officers’ motive as they dragged him away from his car.
Chimbiri said some passers-by later came to his rescue.
He said he reported the matter at Harare Central Police Station.
A medical report shows that Chimbiri suffered a swollen cheek and his eyes had also been affected, but he was in a stable condition.
“I reported to the Harare Central Police Station and my case number is IR092255. During the assault, I managed to identify a council police officer only referred to as Magaya and a police man called Chivandire and these I believe will be able to reveal who really assaulted me. But what I know for sure is that Magaya is the one who pounced on me first,” he said.
Chimbiri said the neuro-surgeon who examined him told him that the L4 and L5 vertebral disc had been displaced.
“In short, they have been damaged and I was advised to go for an operation to put two metal discs on my sides,” he said.
Chimbiri said he has been moved from the first ward he had been admitted to for security reasons after suspicious characters visited his bed.
He said he would want justice to take its course through the arrest of the assailants.
Contacted for comment, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he did not have details of the incident and advised NewsDay to check with him today.
“I do not know anything about that. Would you mind checking with me tomorrow [today]?” he said.
The blitz on illegal venders has left quite a number of causalities, some who are not vendors, but ordinary people caught in the cross fire.