THE kidnapping and assault case in which Mutare-based freelance journalist Clayton Masekesa was attacked by cops and soldiers over adultery allegations was the mainstay of public discourse in Mutare since last Thursday.
Because the assailants captured the assault on camera and later posted the disturbing clips on social media, the case instantly became a worldwide hit with mixed reactions on social media platforms.
We do not condone immoral behaviour or adultery, but it is evident that the actions of the implicated law enforcement agents were wayward and indeed put the names of their respective organisations in disrepute.
Elsewhere in this issue we carry an article in which the police and the army vowed to get to the bottom of the case and discipline all those implicated in the scandal.
Six people have been arrested over the case and were on Wednesday brought before a Mutare magistrate. They were denied bail on the basis that their case was a serious third schedule offence whose bail application could only be entertained at the High Court.
They were sent back to remand prison and will come back to court on June 26 for routine remand.
The issue here is not whether Masekesa was right or wrong in visiting someone’s girlfriend. His subsequent assault is now topical and the lenses are now squarely focused on the actions of the suspects who allegedly put the law into their hands.
No one is above the law. As law enforcement agents — some of them being junior managers in their organisations — the suspects were supposed to take Masekesa to the police and make a formal complaint.
More so, adultery claims are not criminal in nature and thus the aggrieved party was supposed to approach the civil court and sue.
We are told that, before this incident, these guys were conducting intra-city traffic enforcement duties in Mutare at the time they disappeared from their workstations to go and assault the journalist.
They disappeared from work and colluded to commit a crime.
What is more disturbing is that, at the back of their minds they knew very well that the assault was unlawful but they had the nerves to go ahead and film the whole episode.
They went further and posted the videos on social media so that everyone can see their misdeeds. This is the kind of behaviour that is not tolerated in the new political dispensation.
The leadership of the country is changing things for the better, according citizens more civil liberties as enshrined in the Constitution yet some overzealous law enforcement agents, who are acting on their own volition, tarnish the good image of the police and army care freely.
The police and army have promised to seriously look into the matter and make those implicated account for their actions.
Officer Commanding Manicaland Police, Senior Assistant Commissioner Dorothy Kupara said the police have since begun instituting internal disciplinary measures against the two police officers involved.
She said, as police officers, the suspects were supposed to conduct themselves professionally and not to attack civilians.
3 Brigade public relations officer Captain Moreblessings Mugumbate said the actions of the implicated soldiers were contrary to the operations of the force.
He said when they committed the crimes they were not in any way representing the organisation. Capt Mugumbate said at their own peril they decided to deviate from their core mandate of serving the people and abused their powers.
They will be disciplined accordingly.
This case has attracted too much attention and people want to see how it ends. Presently, the suspects are all innocent until proven guilty.
Let justice take its course.