21 June 2019

Zimbabwe: Police, Soldiers Sued for Over U.S.$600 Million

Photo: The Herald
Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga.

Nearly 30 Zimbabweans have approached the High Court in Harare to sue police and the army for damages collectively exceeding half a million US dollars as well as half a million dollars in local currency.

This is according to summons before the Harare High Court in which the aggrieved citizens want to be compensated for the pain and suffering they endured in the hands of the uniformed forces.

Among them are those claiming assault by members of the security forces during the ill-fated January protests against a government hike on fuel prices.

Some of the victims sustained broken limbs and some lost their sight during their ordeals.

Individually, they are claiming amounts ranging from US$10 000 to US$40 000.

One of the applicants, Zondayi Genius Taswa, a former Chief Inspector in the Zimbabwe Republic Police once employed as Officer-in-charge of Pfupajena police station, Chegutu, has a different testimony.

He is suing Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema, Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga as well as a Senior Assistant Commissioner who is police officer commanding Mashonaland West Province.

Taswa claims wrongful arrest over criminal abuse of office charges he was later acquitted of after trial by a Chegutu magistrate.

He is now demanding RTGS$500 000 for the suffering he endured when he was arrested and dragged to court.

"On or about the period ranging from May 18 2018 to February 2019, the three respondents wrongfully and maliciously set the law in motion by laying false charge of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer. Particularly that the plaintiff had employed members of the ZRP constabulary to guard private car parks and thereafter collect US$45 000 for his own benefit.

"When the defendant laid this charge and gave this information, the defendants had no reasonable and probable cause for so doing nor did they have any reasonable belief in the truth of the information they gave. The defendants acted with malice," wrote his attorneys Mugiya and Macharaga Legal Practitioners.

In a separate case, Daniel Kapfuwe is demanding US$30 000 after he was assaulted by soldiers during fierce anti-government protests over fuel price increases in January this year.

"The assaults were humiliating as they were perpetrated in the full glare of members of the public," reads the court papers.

One Kudzaishe Chari also sustained a broken leg after he was assaulted by soldiers on January 22 and is demanding $US40 000.

One Tafadzwa Samu is claiming US$40 000 after he was allegedly abducted from his home together with his brother on January 20 this year.

Samu claims he lost his phone to the soldiers and now has an impaired vision after he was severely assaulted at Chemhanza Stadium in Dzivarasekwa, Harare.

"Wherefore plaintiff prays for judgement against the defendants in the sum of US$40 000 for pain, shock and suffering and contumelia," said his lawyers.

Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Mathema and Matanga were cited as respondents in most of the applications.

They are yet to respond.

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