Fresh Details Emerge On How Harare Vendor Hilton Tamangani Was Murdered
27 October 2019
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By A Correspondent- Narrating his ordeal to ZimEye, one of the vendors who was arrested together with the late Hilton Tafadzwa Tamangani revealed how the police details who raided them stole their money before physically beating them to silence about the matter.

The man (42), whose name will not be revealed to protect his identity narrated the vendors’ horrendous experience at the hands of the over 60 anti riot police details who targeted the money changers going about their business in a calculated move to steal their forex.

He said:

“I am a vendor and money changer at the corner of Kwame Nkurumah and Angwa street near QV Pharmacy in Harare.

On Saturday 12 October 2019, we were going about our business as usual. We normally face challenges from police raids but we normally end up paying $20 fines. But on this particular day, it was around past 5:30pm and a small Isuzu truck came with about 16 police officers. The truck came using Angwa road and in the opposite direction came another truck with about 60 anti riot police officers.

We then realised that we were were cornered and we could not escape as the police had rounded us up on all sides. The only place that we could escape to was Robinson House in the basement.

The police however followed suit in the basement and started firing teargas. The effect of tear smoke saw everyone in the basement run for dear life because we were choking and almost suffocating. This was including the people who use the basement for their offices.

I managed to seek refuge in one of the offices in the basement for several minutes and that is when i heard Hilton and another vendor pleading with the police to stop beating them up because they were saying they were badly injured . It took a good 30 minutes and we could hear them taking turns to assault him one after the other. He never stopped pleading for them to stop.

We were celebrating Hilton’s birthday who had turned 29 on that same day. I am a staunch supporter of MDC and this is known by most people in and around the area we operate from so because of the rumour that was doing the rounds that the MDC was planning a demo the next Monday this could be what triggered the attack on us. I don’t know.

When they captured us in the basement, the first person who was caught was the late Hilton and another young lad called Tekere. They were beaten up badly, I was in another room with three other guys but we could hear that he was being severely beaten it took about 30 minutes and they were beaten none stop. The room that these two had been caught in was the same room where the police helmets were discovered. There were over 200 helmets but they belonged to someone else… the police accused them of plotting to overthrow the government .

They then searched all the other rooms in the basement and we were rounded up. The first thing that they did before they beat you up was to do a body search on your person and that is when they took our money. Some of the guys lost over US$400 I personally did not lose much I had about US$66 and 254 rands and 720 bond but the other guys had a lot of money.

The Police took us and put us in the alley where they continued beating us up. They took turns to assault us and our pleas for them to stop fell on deaf ears

The late Hillary on Thursday, a day before he died said, I am hurting guys and the way i feel, i am too sire i will see you tomorrow.

The night before he died, I slept with Hilton in the same blanket. His whole body was swollen. He could hardly move because his right side was now cold. We had to carry him all over. The Police had also used a broken bottle to knock on his head the day we were arrested and his head was now swollen and it had blood clots due to the injuries sustained. He was in pain but we were denied medical attention.

I recall when we went to ask for treatment at the prison clinic, the nurse told us that they did not even have medicines and turned us away.

Our lawyers instructed that we get medical attention but we were still denied. The Police on one day took us out of our cells and we were taken to Harare central front office only to be returned to the cells two hours later because the police said they did not have leg irons for them to take us to Parirenyatwa Hospital. They said that we had been trained and we were dangerous. We went back to the cells, but Hilton was in pain.

One of the prison guards then saw Hilton’s condition and he was touched and he facilitated that the prison nurse treats him. Fortunately, the nurse on duty was equally touched and she then gave us a wheelchair and he was then taken to the prison hospital. Unfortunately, we received the sad news that Hilton died the following day.”

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