SW Radio Africa news - The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe

Police officer who threatened journalist with death, named

By Violet Gonda
19 January 2010

The senior police officer who allegedly threatened journalist Stanley Kwenda with death has been revealed as the notorious Assistant Commissioner Chrispen Makedenge, whose name has been connected with abductions and torture of perceived opponents of the ZANU PF regime.

The journalist reportedly fled to South Africa after receiving a phone call last Friday from the Assistant Commissioner telling him he’d be ‘dead by the end of the week, because of a story he wrote for The Zimbabwean newspaper.

Wilf Mbanga, the editor of the paper, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that Kwenda had written a story last week quoting the relatives of Makedenge’s late wife, who committed suicide last year.
The relatives reportedly told The Zimbabwean newspaper that Makedenge was a ‘very violent’ man and had allegedly threatened his wife.

Mbanga said: ‘Apparently she killed herself because she had been threatened by him and she allegedly left a suicide note, which has not been found. Some people say the letter was collected by the police but has since been destroyed and it is believed that letter tells the whole story of Makedenge’s thuggish behaviour.”
“The relatives of his late wife approached us, approached Stanley to give him the story and because they wanted the matter investigated,” added Mbanga.

The officer commanding the Law and Order section of the Harare Central Police Station has over the years been associated with the arrest of MDC members and human rights activists, including Secretary General Tendai Biti and civic leader Jestina Mukoko.

In 2008, about 32 political and civil activists were abducted from their homes and tortured while in the hands of the police and state agents. Makedenge was named as one of the architects of these political abductions. Although the Assistant Police Commissioner has been named in court in connection with the rights abuses, nothing has been done by the authorities in Zimbabwe.
However, Mbanga pointed out that a few years ago the dreaded police officer was recalled from a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Sudan because of his appalling human rights record.
Wilf Mbanga said: “Makedenge is known to carry out his threats so Stanley was left with no option but to seek refuge in South Africa.”

“We are calling on the Commissioner of Police to make sure that policemen do not use their positions to settle scores. This is clearly an abuse of office by this officer.”
“He (the journalist) has not threatened State security. He wrote about Makedenge’s violence against his family. And if Makedenge has anything against Stanley he should go to court in his private capacity and not threaten to kill him,” said Mbanga.

We were not able to get a comment from Assistant Commissioner Makedenge.

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