An investigation by its nature is a process of gathering facts and or evidence to, among others, substantiate allegations of wrongdoing.
But an investigation can achieve more than that, it can act as a deterrence measure against impropriety and enforce commitment to accountability.
It is important to state that what the police are doing in this country where innocent citizens are tortured in the name of investigation is actually a violation of fundamental human rights including the right to human dignity.
The Bill of Rights in the Constitution clearly protects citizens against torture but in a country where the Police Commander in Chief is above the same Supreme Law, police are violating the law with impunity and this, I would suggest, will result to public disorder.
It is worth mentioning that public disorder manifests where the citizens have lost confidence in the justice system, perhaps due to the unlawful conduct of the law enforcement agencies and or the entire justice system.
Police officers, despite being law enforcers, are criminal investigators and where a crime has been committed, their duty is to gather evidence and arrest the suspects.
A criminal investigation in the context of law enforcement is the process that seeks to gather evidence to prosecute citizens suspected to have commitment crimes, it is an unlawful conduct for police officers to commit crimes while investigating criminal activities.
But then, perhaps it is not only the lack of investigation skills but the frustration and pressure to gather evidence as per the “beyond reasonable doubt” principle that saw police officers using torture to force confessions.
Unlike in civil cases where the level of proof is governed by the balance of probabilities principle, in criminal cases police have a duty to gather evidence that seeks to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed a crime.
It is very disturbing to note that in this country we have senior police officers who were elevated to the highest investigation unit yet they know nothing about investigation expect to torture suspects and force confessions.
What the senior police officers at the Manzini Regional Headquarters did to Khumbulani Mvubu of Msinda who was tortured merely on suspicion that he bombed Tinkhundla Minister David Cruiser Ngcamphalala’s home was not an investigation.
A mere social media post circulated by an unknown person, saw police officers rushing to Khumbulani Mvubu’s home, they accused him of bombing Ngcamphalala’s home, what a shame!.
Does that mean if an unknown person can circulate unverified information on social media that William Tsintsibala Dlamini bombed the CTA, they will rush to their boss and question him?.
What these police officers did to Mvubu was not only a humiliation to him but a huge embarrassment to them as well, for they demonstrated that they lack the basic characteristics of investigators.
Law enforcement investigators know that they must gather information amounting to reasonable belief that a person commitment a crime even before considering engaging the suspect for an interrogation.
Even during the interrogation, the questions directed to the suspect seeking clarity must be supported by evidence.
Indeed, the basic purpose of an interrogation is to confirm information, probe the suspect with questions to gather more information.
You don’t abduct a citizen from his or her home to the police station merely on an implicating social media post from an unknown person then ask him his personal details like ID and cell numbers, wife and children’s cell phone numbers.
What the police did to Khumbulani Mvubu was just an intimidation.
Personally, I was once subjected to torture in the name of an investigation by a battalion of senior police officers, I was shocked to learn that these were the highest investigators of our country’s law enforcement agency.
Firstly, if they were investigators with intelligence, they ought to have known that after releasing me, I would skip the country and continue with my journalism work.
Deputy Commissioner Sam Mthembu who was regarded as the top investigator later died before fulfilling the task of apprehending me, because the task of investigating the whereabouts of a person is huge, you don’t become an investigator merely by wearing Smohlwana.
I am told Mthembu rushed to Oshoek to check my Immigration records to gather information whether I crossed the border or not, in his thinking capacity, he thought it would be easy to trace a person who was trained on investigation and who is well versed with some of the investigation tactics by a mere passport number.
As it was becoming difficult to trace me, with Mswati and Sikhanyiso putting pressure on him and even further offering him a contract after retirement, Deputy Commissioner Mthembu was frustrated and later died.
I spent about four(4) hours with a battalion of police officers who were torturing and interrogating me but they didn’t know that as an investigator myself, I was learning some of their tactics and how they kill suspects by suffocating them with plastics trying to force confessions.
The security system of this country is very weak, a strong intelligence should have known that certain people were plotting to burn the Tinkhundla Minister’s home.
But that is if the bombing is not a staged strategy by the regime to justify the shooting and killing of civilians in the eyes of the international community.
National Commissioner William Dlamini.