A driver of a commuter omnibus (kombi) has narrated how police officers assaulted his conductor on 14 September leading to his death three days later.
The body of the 28-year-old Luke Zuze, the kombi conductor, is still at Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary as the family awaits the burial order.
Zuze was fatally assaulted by four wanted police officers after he had allegedly refused to pay a bribe for carrying passengers in a kombi not registered under the Zupco franchise, resulting in a fight.
The assault happened at around 5:30 pm along Granary Road and the conductor died three days later in hospital. The kombi driver, George Pirwa, Friday narrated the incident:
We were coming from Mbare and when we were near Whitehouse, we pulled off the road to drop off some passengers. That is when two of the police officers confronted us, telling us that we had been arrested.
One of the police officers jumped inside the vehicle while the other one remained standing outside. Zuze walked towards the door on the driver’s side since he was outside the vehicle and took the car keys and then ran towards the shops at Whitehouse.
Pirwa said the police officer standing outside the vehicle went after Zuze and caught him about 70 metres away from the kombi.
The officers called their colleague who had remained behind with Pirwa informing him they had arrested the conductor. The police officer ordered the driver to disembark from the vehicle so that they go to the scene where Zuze had been arrested.
They arrived and found the handcuffed Zuze lying facing downwards making sounds suggesting he was suffering in pain. The police officer that had arrested him was assaulting him and his colleague joined in the assault.
Zuze later shouted that he had broken his left leg when the police officer tripped him to the ground during the arrest.
Pirwa checked Zuze’s leg and discovered that it was broken.
An unregistered white Toyota Mark 11 that the police officers were using arrived at the scene carrying two other police officers.
They ferried Pirwa and Zuze and drove along High Glen Road before stopping the car just after the roundabout near High Glen Shopping Centre.
They then threatened the duo with detention adding that they were going to prepare dockets so that they would be sent to court for prosecution.
Pirwa later called his colleague named Ronald requesting him to attend to his kombi which he had left in Whitehouse.
He ran out of airtime and one of the police officers asked for Ronald’s number and called him using his mobile phone.
They drove to Sally Mugabe Hospital where one of the officers made arrangements to ensure that Zuze was admitted.
The officers then asked for his driver’s licence and took the kombi keys before they disappeared.
Pirwa remained with Zuze at the hospital and the following morning he went to a police base in Whitehouse to make a report.
When the officers who made the report were called, they said they were handling the case and had opened a docket at Marimba Police Station but failed to give a reference number.
Pirwa was then ordered to go to Marimba Police Station where he discovered that no such report was made and that the officers are not based at that station.
An assault report was made but when Zuze died a few days later, the report changed from assault to murder before being referred to CID Homicide for further investigations.
Hospital officials said Zuze’s body needed to undergo a COVID-19 test for a post mortem to be conducted. Zuze tested positive.
The body was then referred to Parirenyatwa Hospital where post-mortem for such cases is conducted.
The forensic post mortem was conducted on Wednesday this week September 29, and results are expected within 30 days.
The family is now waiting for a burial order. Zuze, who stayed in Westlea, is survived by his wife and two children, one aged five and a newborn baby.
More: The Herald