High Court orders Chihuri to do his job

High Court Judge Samuel Kudya has ordered Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri to do his job and start protecting civilians from the Chipangano gang.

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri

The mafia-style group, which has in the past been accused of extortion, murder and political violence, had forced Harare businessman Alex Mashamanda, 62, to abandon construction of a $1,2 million service station and food court in Mbare. They accused him of being an MDC supporter.

Mashamanda and his company,Mashwede Diesel Services (Pvt) Ltd, approached the High Court seeking a protection order against the gang, which claims to be acting on orders byZanu (PF) politburo member TendaiSavanhu and provincial youth leader Jim Kunaka.

“Chihuri is hereby ordered to ensure that applicants obtain the protection of the law in the face of any acts or threats of acts by any or all of the respondents in violation of the law,” reads the interim relief order.

Justice Kudya also ordered suspected Chipangano gang leaders, Savanhu, Kunaka and Alfonso Gobvu to stop any further harassment ofMashamanda.

In his affidavit Mashamanda, who employs over 100 people, says up to 100Chipangano gang members have since January 17, descended on the construction site on more than four occasions and forced workers to scurry for cover amid hails of missiles.

In one incident, Mashamanda was beaten up and left for dead. He has failed to receive any help from police in the adjacentMatapi police station, who repeatedly told him to engage Zanu (PF) over the matter. He said his attempts to seek a solution with the party also failed.

Even giving in to demands by one Gore, Zanu(PF) chairman in Mbare, to employ 20 youths from the area did not help his cause.

“Information reached us to the effect that Savanhudid not want operations to resume,” says Mashamanda.“His position was l was a supporter of MDC and on that basis, l could not operate in Mbare.”

“It is disappointing for me that I had to resort to the High Court just to get the police to do their job … to do something which we are even urged by our government: to create wealth and employment,” he said after the ruling.

“It’s a tragedy. They are not ultimately fighting me. They are fighting the nation. We can’t economically empower ourselves if we are behaving in that manner.”

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