By A Correspondent- The family of slain Central Intelligence organisation operative Peter Munetsi has sued Defence and War Veterans minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri for US$185 627 (ZWL$2 840 093 as of yesterday’s inter-bank rate) over the brutal killing of the senior spy at the height of the coup in 2017.
Munetsi’s wife Rossie and son Peter Junior, who are being represented by lawyer Denford Halimani, filed summons at the High Court on Wednesday. They are also demanding that Muchinguri-Kashiri issue a public apology.
According to a post-mortem report, Munetsi was beaten to death by his captors during the November 2017 military coup that toppled the late president Robert Mugabe.
“The plaintiff’s claim is for special and general damages arising from the unlawful, unjustified, wrongful, brutal, savage and fatal assault inflicted upon the now deceased Peter Munetsi by members of the Defence Forces on the 14-15th of November 2017. The members of the Defence Forces were acting within the scope and course of their employment with the defendant, cited herein in her official capacity as the minister responsible for the conduct of the Defence Forces,” the summons read.
“In the premises plaintiff’s claim for 1) the payment of the equivalent total sum of US$130, 627. 00 being special damages for loss of support and maintenance apportioned to the plaintiffs as follows for first plaintiff: US$113, 046 and for second plaintiff US$17, 581.
“Payment of the equivalent sum of US$55,000 being general damages for 1) emotional shock and psychological damage as a result of the trauma of the loss of a loved one ii) Future medical expenses as a result of the loss of a loved one iii) Grief and emotional suffering as a result of the loss of a loved one iv) loss of family life in that plaintiffs were deprived of emotional support, companionship, love and care of a husband and father v) Expenses incurred in winding up the deceased’s estate and loss of certain benefits that would have accrued to the deceased by virtue of his employment and being a war veteran.”
Moreover, the family wants Muchinguri to pay interest at the prescribed rate from the 16th of November 2017 to the date of full and final payment and costs of suit on an attorney and client scale.
According to the summons, Munetsi was abducted and taken to One Commando Barracks by members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces whose ranks and names are not known to the plaintiffs, where he was then “wilfully, unlawfully, unjustifiably, wrongfully, savagely, and brutally” assaulted thereby inflicting severe and fatal injuries upon him.
“The conduct of the members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces involved was contrary to the law, wrongful and unjustified. As a result of the brutal assault, the deceased died in military custody sometime on the 15th of November 2017.
The post-mortem of the deceased made by government pathologist Dr Tsungai Jabangwe at Parirenyatwa Hospital confirmed that the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries and severe anaemia post extensive subcutaneous and intramuscular haemorrhage caused by severe assaults inflicted on the body of the deceased,” the summons say.
“During his lifetime Peter Munetsi owed a legal duty of support and maintenance owed a legal duty of support and maintenance to the first and second plaintiffs and in fact did so.
The said support and maintenance was necessary to the plaintiffs in that they had no other means of support and maintenance. The defendant is liable to the plaintiff’s special and general damages at common law duly developed in accordance with sections 46 (2) and 176 of the constitution. Notice of intention to sue was given to the defendant on the 23rd of April 2018.”
The government, through Muchinguri-Kashiri and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba, among other officials, have claimed the coup was bloodless.
The officials initially blamed Munetsi’s death on a chronic illness which they said he had been taking medication for.
“According to the Form 231/police verbal reports, the deceased was initially reported as having taken ill and died suddenly.
Later report suggests he may have been a victim of assault. He was certified dead on the 16th of November 2017 by Dr SA Chinengono at Commando Hospital,” a post-mortem of his reads.
“NB: Full circumstances are still under investigation; the above statement may be subject to corrections and or additions.
Photographs and video evidence were taken during the course of the autopsy by CID homicide studios. X-rays were taken by Parirenyatwa Hospital radiology department.”