ZIMBABWE’s quick-to-arrest and detain police have been dragged to the High Court by a group of 13 Harare residents for wrongful detention.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The 13 citizens are demanding a combined $705 000 from Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, Police Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri, and other senior police officers.
In separate lawsuits filed by the group’s lawyers Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, the 13 detail harrowing tales following their arrest by a police reaction squad on August 24, 2016, in central Harare.
Among the litigants are eight women and five men, who claim that they were going about their normal business when the law enforcement agents allegedly pounced on them.
In their founding affidavits, the residents said upon being arrested, they were taken to Harare Central Police Station’s notorious, Law and Order section, where they were severely assaulted, humiliated and denied access to their lawyers.
All the women said the trauma they suffered during the unlawful detention and the indiscriminate brutal bashing by the police officers forced them into premature menstruation.
They claim they were denied access to sanitarywear forcing them to use their own clothes.
“Plaintiff (one of the women), who was induced by the pressure mounting on her, prematurely went on her menstrual cycle. She was denied sanitarywear or privacy to attend to her unexpected needs. As a result, she had to attend to these needs in the full glare of members of the public, mostly men, using her own clothes. This caused her personal trauma, humiliation and indignity,” the lawyers said.
In his claim, one of the five men said:
“Plaintiff was bunched with several of his co-tenants, including women, some of the women were or went on their menstrual cycle. They were not afforded any facilities, including sanitarywear to deal with their state.
“As a result, they were forced to use their clothes to wipe away the blood flow in the presence of the plaintiff and male arrestees. This experience was horrendous and traumatic to the plaintiff.”
The lawyers also said, at all times, the police were acting within the scope and course of their employment as police details of the Zimbabwe Republic Police service.
Each of the eight women is demanding $60 000 compensation, while each of the men is demanding $45 000.
In their applications, the residents also cited Officer Commanding Police, Harare Central District, Officer Commanding Police Reaction Group, Officer-In-Charge, CID Law and Order Harare, Detective Inspector Morgan Chafa, Detective Inspector Maria Phiri, Detective Sergeant Makore and the Officer-In-Charge Harare Central Police as respondents.
The police is yet to respond to the summons.