By A Correspondent- Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, is facing prosecution after ignoring a court order compelling him to compensate a police brutality victim.
High Court in 2017 ordered the police to pay Margret Chanyuruka US$3,000 in damages after she was brutally assaulted by police in 2016.
Chanyuruka has filed a summons in the same court seeking an order compelling Kazembe to pay up.
Chanyuruka sued Kazembe and Matanga on March 3, 2017, demanding US$13,500 in restitution “for shock, pain, and suffering on the basis of vicarious liability against the respondents.”
Her claim was opposed, and the matter was set down for hearing, but Kazembe and Matanga did not show up in court, resulting in a default ruling for the applicant.
On July 8, 2019, the High Court referred the matter to the motion court to decide on the quantum of compensation which was reduced from the original US$13,500 claim to US$3,000 or equivalent in local currency.
Chanyuruka, a counselor by profession says on July 6, 2016, she was with a client in a house in Budiriro when six police armed with guns, baton sticks, and shields stormed in and started assaulting them.
“I endured excruciating pain as a result of this assault by the ZRP officers. I then sought medical attention at a private doctor at the counseling Service unit on July 12, 2016, where I was treated,” she said in her summons.
“I was shocked to see the said six vicious police officers armed with rifles and unlawfully gaining entrance into the house. I was emotionally traumatised by the whole act and sometimes faced difficulties in falling asleep in fear of dreaming this whole act. The ZRP officers assaulted me for no reason.”
Chanyuruka said the officers said they were looking for the husband of her client.
“They were supposed to ask my client for that person and follow due process if they wanted to search the house or to arrest him,” she added.
The matter is yet to be heard.
Victims of police brutality are increasingly fighting back in the courts with the help of human rights defenders such as the ZLHR, filing claims for damages against mainly Kazembe and police chiefs, who face a slew of lawsuits.
A taxi driver who was shot by a trigger-happy cop was on Monday awarded US$7,000 in damages by the High Court after suing Kazembe and Matanga.
Matthew Mundwa was shot in the leg one May night in 2018 by Constable Kelvin Madzima while driving to Bluffhill suburb in Harare to drop off a client.