By Judith Sibanda
Victoria Falls, February 19, 2016 – A former security guard, who was assaulted while working for Macro-Economic Planning Minister Obert Mpofu for allegedly supporting the opposition Zapu says he is struggling to get justice as police claim his case was too sensitive to investigate.
Lifas Sibanda (45) was allegedly battered in the run-up to the July 2013 harmonised elections by Mpofu’s aides after he attended a rally held by the Dumiso Dabengwa led party at Lupinyu business centre.
He said he now suffers from constant back pain and has not been able to work since the assault.
Sibanda of Chinotimba high density suburb said police were refusing to take up his case.
“After the torture, I lost my job and I can’t even walk properly,” he said. “I have to walk using a stick because my back is painful and I don’t sleep at night.”
He said the refusal by police in Victoria Falls to investigate his case had made it difficult for him to fight for compensation.
“I have not received any compensation and the police are not helpful,” Sibanda said.
“I have been going to the police to check if they have opened a docket against the minister and his aides but I’m always told that the case is too sensitive.
“I even tried to talk to (officer commanding Victoria Falls police) Superintendent Jairos Chiwona but he professed ignorance on the matter.”
Sibanda said what made him bitter was that he could no longer fend for his family because of the injuries he sustained during the attack.
However, Chiwona was not immediately available for comment but his deputy Dominic Sibanda said the former was the only person who could comment on the matter.
“I cannot comment on this one, I am sorry,” he said. “The matter is too sensitive. Wait for the Dispol (officer commanding district) on Monday, he might be back maybe he can assist.”
Recalling his ordeal, Sibanda said he was assaulted for attending a Zapu rally on July 15.
“As a Zapu member, we were called to attend a meeting at Lupinyu business centre in the afternoon,” he said.
“A Zanu PF legislator came to the shopping centre driving a T35 lorry to pick some Zanu PF supporters because they were having a rally in Hwange.
“When he saw me I waved at him, but he instead gave a sign of wanting to cut my throat and I took it as a joke.
“The following day, I reported to work at one of Mpofu’s lodges and I was deployed to guard the minister’s house at Aerodrome, something that had never happened.”
He said Mpofu returned home from the Hwange rally at 8PM, followed by one of his managers before he was summoned inside the house.
“They got into the house and a few minutes later the manager called me inside and told Mpofu that I was a sell-out campaigning for Zapu,” he said.
“After that, four of Mpofu’s body guards were called to take me outside and they kicked me all over my body.
“Some assaulted me using clenched fists.”
Sibanda claimed Mpofu asked him if he wanted Dabengwa to be Zimbabwe’s president.
“The beating started at around 8:30PM to 2 AM. I was no longer screaming, but I kept telling them that they can kill me if they wanted as I will never be a Zanu PF supporter,” he said.
He said they later took him to his house demanding Zapu membership cards and campaign material.
“I told them that I didn’t have the cards,” he said.
Sibanda said he spent over a month at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo but was not fully rehabilitated because he did not have money to pay for his medical bills.
Reached for comment, Mpofu said he was aware of the allegations but he never participated advising Sibanda to go and report his matter.
“If he has a problem he can go and report wherever he wants. Are there no any other better issues to talk about than this rubbish? I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me period so l have nothing to say.
“I’ve seen reports that he is disabled because of me but l don’t know him and l don’t want to know him. I’m tired of his false claims,” said Mpofu.