Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
Anti-riot police severely assaulted Herald correspondent Lovemore Meya while he was covering the violence that erupted in Chitungwiza between touts and residents on Tuesday.
Meya, who sustained injuries all over the body, reported the matter at Harare Central Police Station under case number IR01/02/64.
He said police officers in riot gear hit him with batons, slapped and kicked him several times, despite displaying his Zimbabwe Media Commission accreditation card and explaining to them that he was a bona fide reporter assigned to cover the skirmishes.
After bashing him, the police officers seized his camera and ordered him to delete the pictures he had taken.
“The anti-riot police officers were hunting for some rowdy residents that were fuelling violence,” he said. “Suddenly, one of them charged towards our vehicle demanding to know who we were and what we were doing, threatening to smash the vehicle’s windscreen.
“He called his colleagues who seized my camera and they took turns to assault me.”
Meya was taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital on the same day where he was examined and treated by Dr Kamutika.
The medical report indicated that he experienced trauma, generalised limb pain, a mild swelling forearm and bloodshot in the left eye.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Michael Chideme said the attack on Meya was uncalled for, especially considering that police officers were expected to be conversant with the law.
“ZUJ condemns in the strongest terms any form of abuse and harassment of journalists,” he said. “Journalists deserve protection and respect.
“We appeal to the police to extend an apology to Meya and all journalists as an injury to one is an injury to all.”
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said journalists were allowed to carry out their work and said investigations were in progress to find out what transpired on the day.
“We want to assure journalists that their safety is guaranteed,” he said. “In this particular case, we will conduct comprehensive investigations with a view to finding out what happened.
“As long as journalists are conducting their work in terms of the country’s laws, there is nothing that will hinder them from doing their job.”
The incident came after another Herald correspondent, Fungai Jachi, was threatened by a police officer while she was covering a court case in which the officer was accused of assault.
Jachi reported the case at the Harare Central Police Station.