Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe has escaped jail after his ministry rushed to make payment of ZW$199 500 as compensation to Gweru-based student, Simon Mandoza who successfully sued him for illegal arrest and brutal assault by police officers in 2018.
Kazembe had been given an ultimatum by Harare Magistrate Tilda Mazhande to pay Mandoza or be sentenced to serve 60 days in prison.
The ultimatum was issued after Kazembe reneged on complying with a court order compelling him to compensate Mandoza for damages which the latter suffered when he was assaulted by some law enforcement agents two years ago.
However, a legal advisor in Kazembe's ministry only identified as P. Madziviridze advised Mandoza's lawyers Fiona Iliff and Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) through a letter that payment had been effected.
They attached confirmation of funds transfer.
"Reference is made to your letter dated October 8 2020 in which you requested the payment of a judgement debt amounting to ZWL$199 500. Please be advised that the payment has been effected and we have hereto attached the proof of payment," the letter reads.
Through his lawyers, Mandoza sued Kazembe and ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga after some police officers arrested the college student on 20 September 2018 while he was standing outside a fast food outlet in Harare CBD.
He was waiting for his brother to pick him up.
Unbeknown to him, some police officers were carrying out an operation against informal traders in the CBD during the same period.
Mandoza was assaulted by police and forced to get into the back of a police vehicle.
While in the vehicle, police details poked him with a truncheon on his shoulder and on his head.
He was taken to Harare Central Police Station, where he was finally released without charge.
Mandoza becomes the latest person among dozens of people assisted by ZLHR to successfully sue police ministers for damages emanating from the wrongful arrest and assault.