BULAWAYO municipal police reportedly broke the arm of a toddler with a baton stick during a ‘violent’ raid on vendors in the city in a case that has spilled into the courts.
The mother of the 15-month old baby whose arm was allegedly broken by municipal police, Doreen Selimani, during the August 19 raid is now suing the Bulawayo City Council (BCC).
The matter is set for September 28 at the courts.
Selimani is represented by Nozipho Dube, a member of Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers and also a lawyer with Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners.
According to the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), Selimani was selling eggs on the streets when municipal police descended on her stall, assaulting her despite the fact that her baby was strapped on her back, resulting in her child suffering a broken arm.
BVTA condemned the heavy-handedness of the municipal cops, describing it as unconstitutional.
“The BVTA would like to unequivocally remind the BCC authorities of Section 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that says; no person may be subjected to physical or psychological torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the same vein to remind them of the rights of arrested persons.
BVTA further posits that the actions of the municipal police are in violation of Section 19 subsection (2c) of the Constitution that states that the child must be protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse. BVTA also notes that BCC municipal police violated the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child,” the vendors’ representative organisation said.
The BVTA said council must investigate the violent conduct of its municipal officers and prosecute “those that have taken the law unto themselves to injure and maim vendors who were involved in genuine means to earn a living.
“We are also aggrieved by unwarranted seizure and confiscation of vendors and informal traders’ goods and generic brutalising and harassment of informal traders and vendors especially defenceless women and girls,” the organisation said.
The organisation also called for dialogue with the council to iron out differences between vendors and municipal police. Bulawayo mayor, Martin Moyo has defended the raids on unlicensed vendors insisting they had been given adequate time to relocate to designated sites, adding his council would not backtrack on that issue.