Monday, 12 August 2019

I JUST WANTED TO LIGHT A CIGARETTE : PROTESTOR


A 30-YEAR-OLD man from Luveve suburb in Bulawayo who was shot and injured by police while allegedly planning to loot Choppies supermarket during January violent demonstrations has appeared in court.

Promise Mandizha Dube was allegedly part of a violent and rowdy crowd that besieged the supermarket in Luveve suburb and attempted to disarm a police officer resulting in the shooting.

Dube pleaded not guilty to public violence charges when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Mr Tinashe Tashaya, last Friday. The magistrate remanded him out of custody to August 15.

In his defence, Dube said he happened to be at the crime scene only because he wanted to light a cigarette and talk to some friends who were near the supermarket.

“I was very unlucky to be at Choppies Supermarket during a time when these demonstrations were happening. I only passed by the supermarket with the intention to light a cigarette and chat with some of my friends who were close by,” he said.

“I was shot on the back of my left thigh as I tried to run away when police were shooting people. If I had intentions of burning down the shop why then was l shot on the back of my left thigh and not the front? This is evidence enough that I was in a crossfire and I am certain that this was not my lucky day.” 

Prosecuting, Mr Leonard Chile said on January 15 at around 1PM, the accused person together with a group of other accomplices were demonstrating in front of Choppies Supermarket in Luveve suburb.

The group allegedly started throwing stones at police officers who were guarding the supermarket.

“The police officers then fired one warning shot in the air and the violent crowd dispersed,” Mr Chile said.

He said after about two hours, Dube came back to the supermarket carrying two car tyres and placed them on the front door of the supermarket.

The accused person then stuffed them with papers that were scattered on the ground intending to set them alight.

Mr Chile said police officers ordered him to leave the supermarket and not set it on fire but he refused and called for backup from some of his accomplices. The crowd then approached police officers pelting them with stones.

“One of the police officers fired three warning shots into the air but the accused person continued to move towards him and tried to take away the firearm but he failed to do so,” the prosecutor said.

He said a struggle ensued between the two until the police officer gained full control of the firearm and shot Dube on the thigh. The crowd then retreated and police officers managed to escape.

The prosecutor said on January 23, police officers received information that the accused person was admitted at Mpilo Central Hospital as a result of the injury he suffered when he was shot.

Police officers made way to the hospital where Dube was arrested but he remained in hospital under police guard. Chronicle

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