Prison Guards Pay For Bashing Trespassers
29 March 2023
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By- Two members of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services have been ordered to compensate trespassers they assaulted on Prison premises.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) reported that the two ZPCS officers, Michael Nduna and Florence Chihambakwe, were sued for damages amounting to US$5 250 in their capacity by Harare resident Alex Tendai Gombedza.

In a court update, the lawyers said the ZPCS officers accused Gombedza and his friend Evidence Kutsawa of trespassing before assaulting them.

Gombedza and Kutsawa were walking through the Chikurubi Prison garden in Harare in January 2022 when they were assaulted.

After the assault, an aggrieved Gombedza engaged ZLHR’s Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paida Saurombe who in August 2022 sued Nduna and Chihambakwe for damages amounting to US$5 250.

The money was for the physical attack and ill-treatment, for pain and suffering, humiliation, an affront to dignity and embarrassment. 

Gombedza also cited Justice and Legal Affairs minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi and ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu among the respondents. 

What happened:

During the trial at Harare Civil Magistrates Court, Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe said Nduna and Chihambakwe instructed Gombedza and Kutsawa to lie down on the ground before assaulting them on their feet using wooden pick handles. 

After the assault, the ZPCS officers instructed some prisoners whom they were supervising to also assault the duo. As a result, Gombedza and Kutsawa sustained severe injuries and had to seek medical attention. 

Gombedza sustained injuries on his legs and feet which warranted admission to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital for treatment. 

He said he suffered excruciating pain in his feet, which he still feels to date. 

According to medical reports, Gombedza suffered a 3% residual disability as a result of the injuries he sustained from the assault. 

Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe argued that their client felt greatly humiliated, embarrassed, dehumanised and degraded by the assaults and ill-treatment that he received at the hands of the ZPCS officers. 

The human rights lawyers stated that Nduna and Chihambakwe treated Gombedza as if he was a dangerous criminal yet he was unarmed and posed no security threat whatsoever. 

Furthermore, Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe argued that there was no justification for the excessive use of force against Gombedza as he had not committed any crime but was just going about his business walking on his way to Harare’s central business centre. 

In the end, Nduna and Chihambakwe were ordered to pay compensation amounting to US$5 250 to Gombedza broken down as:

i). US$2 500 for damages for humiliation, embarrassment, an affront to dignity and contumelia, 

ii). US$2 500 for pain and suffering 

iii). US$250 for medical expenses which he incurred while being treated. 

Now, the ZPCS officers have lost some personal property, which was attached and removed by the Messenger of Court on Friday 23 March 2023 and will be auctioned to recover the judgment debt owed to Gombedza. 

Among the household property which Nduna lost include a set of sofas, a deep freezer, a television set, a wardrobe & a printer. Chihambakwe lost a set of sofas, a television set and a room divider.