28 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Pro-Democracy Campaigner Wins Compensation for Police Assault

THE Ministry of Home Affairs has paid more than $6 000 as compensation to Lynette Tendai Mudehwe, a prominent pro-democracy campaigner, who was assaulted by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers when the law enforcement agents crushed an anti-government protest in Harare three years ago.

Mudehwe, who is the Coordinator of Zimbabwe Activists Alliance, had filed an application at Harare Magistrates Court on 28 February 2019 seeking an order for the imprisonment of two Cabinet ministers namely Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, Cain Mathema, the Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister and Godwin Matanga, the Commissioner-General of Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for contempt of court after they failed to pay her $6 210 as compensation for violation of her fundamental rights following her unlawful arrest and assault in January 2016.

In her application for an order of contempt of court filed by Fiona Iliff of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Mudehwe wanted Ncube, Mathema and Matanga to be declared to be in contempt of court and to serve 60 days in prison after they willfully disregarded a court order

granted on 3 December 2018 by Harare Magistrate only identified as Moyo, who instructed ZRP to compensate her.

But the ministers and Matanga escaped serving the jail sentence after the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage deposited payment amounting to $6 210 into Mudehwe's bank account, which she has since confirmed receiving.

Mudehwe was assaulted by ZRP officers while participating in a peaceful demonstration held in central Harare on 4 January 2016 and sustained some injuries and extensive bruises as a result.

This compelled the human rights activist to engage her lawyers from ZLHR who issued summons on her behalf demanding payment of damages as compensation for the violation of Mudehwe's fundamental rights and this resulted in the Magistrates Court granting her order for compensation.

ZLHR says its intervention in assisting Mudehwe is meant at helping combat impunity and strengthen accountability, which is essential to the restoration or preservation of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

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