Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
POLICE are analysing video footage in which a man, strongly believed to be Chitungwiza Mayor Councillor Lovemore Maiko of MDC-Alliance, torching a ZBC vehicle opposite Town House in Harare on August 26, 2016.
This was during a violent demonstration organised by the opposition-linked Tajamuka pressure group.
Several vehicles and property were torched in the demonstration.
According to the video footage made available to The Herald, violent scenes are witnessed wherein a mob burns a ZBC vehicle. The man believed to be Clr Maiko is seen rushing towards a parked ZBC vehicle with cardboard boxes which he throws inside and a fire erupts, with billowing smoke. The man is wearing a blue and gold T-shirt with a United States of America flag.
During his act, scores of mobsters are heard cheering as the car continues to burn.
Yesterday, The Herald was inundated with calls from members of the public who said the person in the video was the controversial mayor of Chitungwiza.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has since flighted images and a video of the suspected hooligans on the national broadcaster, notifying the public that the assailants are on their wanted list.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told The Herald that police were seeking public help to identify the suspects to further investigations.
“We have observed that same people have been identified on separate violent incidences which have been occurring in the country particularly in Harare since 2016 to date.
“These people have been captured in videos and photos that is the reason why we are appealing to the members of the public to help in identifying, locating and apprehending them. We strongly suspect that they have caused a lot of damage to property as is seen in one of the videos,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Clr Maiko were fruitless as he did not answer or return calls from The Herald.
However, we visited Chitungwiza and spoke to several residents who also identified the politician as the assailant in the video.
Said one of the residents, “I saw even the flight on ZBC TV on Friday night, the moment I saw the footage, I identified our mayor burning the ZBC vehicle. We have been talking about it here with my colleagues who also watched the news on that day and they also concurred with me,” said the resident who refused to be named.
“We are so sure that it is indeed the mayor and everyone here knows it. Even before the footage was flighted on ZBC, there have been talks in Chitungwiza that he is the one who burnt the ZBC vehicle. What worries most of us is that the police have done nothing yet it is clear that he has a case to answer.
“The police need to do their job, why are they afraid to arrest him?”
If the identity of the man in the video is confirmed to be Clr Maiko, it will not be the first time for him to have a brush with the law in relation to suspected criminality. In 2015 he was arrested for allegedly raping and kidnapping his then 19 -year-old ex-girlfriend.
Last month, the mayor and his colleagues were again picked by the police on allegations of abuse of office involving land scandals.