Zimbabwe

In the poo - Zim cop uses wrong loo

2011-05-26 22:20

Special Report

Zimbabwe urged to guarantee safety of journalists
Zimbabwe urged to guarantee safety of journalists

Global media watchdog, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, on Friday urged Zimbabwe to guarantee the safety of journalists after a reporter was beaten up and detained by police.

Harare - A Zimbabwe policeman has been in detention for two weeks after he used a toilet specially reserved for President Robert Mugabe's use, reports said here on Thursday.

Sergeant Alois Mabhunu, a police homicide detective in the western city of Bulawayo, was on surveillance duty a fortnight ago at the annual Zimbabwe International Trade Fair when he received an urgent call of nature, local radio station VOP said.

He rushed to the first toilet he could see, which happened to be a privy being guarded for Mugabe's use during his appearance at the show. Police guards tried to block Mabhunu's access, but he fought his way through and locked himself in, VOP said, quoting from a police charge sheet.

Having relieved himself, he left and resumed his duties. But the toilet guards reported the incident, including to the secret police, and he was arrested the next day.

Mabhunu was being held in a police detention barracks outside Bulawayo and was due to appear on Friday before a police disciplinary hearing, VOP said.

Police spokesperson Mandlenkosi Moyo refused comment, saying it was an "internal matter".

Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa questioned what offence Mabhunu was being charged with.

"There has to be a law saying the toilet is the president's, but this was a public one. They will have had to issue a proclamation in the government gazette specifying it. I bet they didn't do that."

Observers say the 87-year-old autocrat is fiercely protected by large squadrons of secret police and soldiers wherever he goes. Motorists who accidentally get in the way of Mugabe's motorcade are routinely assaulted, and have no recourse to the law.

- SAPA

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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