A Blantyre-based drinking joint proprietor has accused some Limbe Police Station officers of inflicting grievous bodily harm which has incapacitated her, therefore unable to discharge her duties as a businessperson.
Sharrat Gondwe, 29, owner of Pitchers Pub at Chigumula Township in the city of Blantyre is said to have been picked by the law enforcers at around 8pm on June 9 2016, where they beat her up, breaking her ankle and leaving her with heavy bruises across her body.
“Despite pleading with them that I was within my territory, the officers who arrived in three vehicles picked me alongside my workers. I had just closed my business premises since there was a power outage that night.
“They insulted us all along the way to the station and beat me up with a rifle butt on my bottom, resulting in bruises. My clothes were torn, apart from the insults that were thrown at me, which left me a humiliated person. I am still traumatised and I cannot face a police officer even during daytime,” said Gondwe.
According to Gondwe, the police charged them with rogue and vagabond.
She has since lodged a complaint against the police, saying she would like to get justice for the humiliation she suffered at the hands of the law enforcers.
Limbe Police Station spokesperson Pedzesai Zembeneko acknowledged receiving a complaint from Gondwe.
“It is true that we registered a complaint from Gondwe against the police conduct during her arrest. But what I can say at the moment is that we are in the middle of investigating the matter; therefore, we cannot divulge much information until the whole process is completed,” said Zembeneko.
However, executive director of Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (Chreaa), which has been running a campaign pushing for a review of vagrance laws, Victor Mhango, accused the law enforcers of taking the law into their hands.
“Much as we appreciate that the law currently allows the police to effect arrest under such circumstances, we feel they have to be within the confines of the law. People should not be harassed or beaten up as is often the case. This is brutality which is not allowed by law. That is why we have been advocating for the review of these laws that only penalise people who are disadvantaged in some way,” said Mhango.
Currently Gondwe is walking with the help of clutches while her knee is still in a brace after a temporary plaster of Paris was removed. n