Forty touts, vendors, commuter omnibus drivers and members of the public who assaulted municipal cops who were carrying out a clean-up exercise injuring eight of them in the process were yesterday granted free bail. The 40 – the majority of them from Epworth, Tafara and Chitungwiza – are facing charges of public violence.
Harare magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo granted them free bail and ordered them to come back to court on February 8 for trial.
Prosecutor Ms Idah Maromo told the court that on January 3 at around 4pm, Harare municipal police officers were enforcing city by-laws under an operation code-named “Scorpion’’ meant to clear illegal passenger pick-up points popularly known as “mushikashika” at the corner of Julius Nyerere Way and Robson Manyika Avenue.
The court heard that 10 municipal police officers were dropped off at the junction by a city council vehicle.
It is alleged that the 40 resisted the operation.
Acting in common purpose with the other accused persons who are still at large, they attacked the municipal police officers using stones, cardboard boxes and various metal objects, the court was told.
The court also heard that as a result of the assault, the municipal officers sustained various injuries all over their bodies and sought medical treatment at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
It is alleged that the 40 were arrested on the same day in the vicinity of the alleged crime scene after having been positively identified by various witnesses.