Senior Zanu PF member, police boss implicated in US$13 fight 


Brenna Matendere

Harare—A senior Zanu PF member, Cornelius Mupereri, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police officer commanding Kwekwe district, Ison Chapeta, have been implicated in a US$13 cab dispute.

Mupereri is a member of the ruling party’s Midlands provincial coordinating committee and a former spokesperson for the same province.

Bernard Mpandashalo, a Kwekwe taxi operator, has written a letter of complaint to the police Commissioner General, Godwin Matanga, accusing the two of abusing their powers by harassing him following a dispute over change after the politician’s son hired him.

In the letter dated 22 May, Mpandashalo of Amaveni in the Midlands city indicated that the dispute arose when he ferried Mupereri’s son to his home in Msasa Park.

The unidentified son produced a US$20 note for the US$7 trip from town to Msasa Park but Mpandashalo did not have change.

The two agreed that the younger Mupereri would collect his US$13 in town at 3pm on the same day.

The Zanu PF politician’s son missed the time and went to collect the change five hours later, when the woman that Mpandashalo reportedly gave the change to had already left the agreed venue.

At that stage, the son lost his temper and demanded the money immediately, with Mpandashalo insisting that he must return the following day.

The younger Mupereri would have none of it, after which he reported the matter to his father, who the cabman alleges in his letter subsequently hired police officers to track down and unlawfully detain him.

“The Kwekwe district police headquarters followed an instruction from Mr Cornelius Mupereri, a senior Zanu PF official who wanted the police to collect a debt that I owed his son.

“In the process of debt collection for and on behalf of Mr Mupereri’s son, I was humiliated, detained at Kwekwe Central Police Station, made to pay a fine of US$15 (sic),” wrote Mpandashalo.

“This was a simple issue but Mr Mupereri and his son simply wanted to demonstrate how powerful they are to the extent of making the Dispol himself (Chapeta) decide to come to my house to collect the change and put me in police custody for no apparent reason,” added the taxi driver.

“I was unlawfully arrested, detained and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of Kwekwe Central Police under the leadership of its Dispol. My family, including my kids, were (sic) traumatised by the way I was treated,” said Mpandashalo.

He urged Matanga to investigate abuse by Mupereri and the police.

“Mr Mupereri made it clear to me that he was going to ensure that I sleep in police cells and that he will make my stay in Kwekwe very uncomfortable,” said Mpandashalo.

The taxi operator alleged that a women who introduced herself as Chief Inspector Chikuni called him to notify him that the police were under Mupereri’s instruction to follow up on the change that he owed his son.

After that, he added, her boss, Chapeta allegedly called him too, demanding the US$13 owed to Mupereri’s son.

Some 14 police details accompanied by dogs reportedly raided Mpandashalo’s home around 10pm.

They talked to his wife who gave them a US$20 note but they allegedly refused, insisting that they must arrest and lock up the taxi operator as ordered by Mupereri.

The police detained him at Kwekwe Central Police Station under detention book number 989/24.

The following morning, he was forced to pay a US$15 admission of guilt fine for disorderly conduct.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police acted as Mr Mupereri’s debt collectors at the tax-payer’s expense. The involvement of the Kwekwe Dispol in all this, including him being part of the team that came to my house, was quite disturbing,” reads the letter.

In response to the allegations by Mpandashalo, Mupereri told NewsHub that he was not aware of the letter of complaint to Matanga and dismissed the taxi operator’s claims as untrue.

“I am currently out of town and have not seen been served with the letter, so I cannot comment. But in general, I can say that I do not know about the allegations raised against me,” he said.

Chapeta insisted that the NewsHub reporter must visit his office for an interview despite being told that he was in Harare.

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