BY CHARLES LAITON
FORMER Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzai has approached the High Court seeking $500 000 compensation following his acquittal on charges of unlawfully possessing an umbrella which resembled military camouflage.
Kudzai was on February 22, 2019 arrested at a security roadblock along Domboshawa Road by a Constable Chitana and Corporal Francis Murehwa as police and military officers were carrying out joint “stop and search” operation on motorists.
Kudzai was immediately charged with possession of articles with military style camouflage markings, but was later released on $100 bail by a Harare magistrate.
However, when his trial commenced on March 26, 2019 at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, he was found not guilty and acquitted, prompting him to sue Home Affairs minister Cain Matema, Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Philip Valerio Sibanda, in their official capacities.
“Plaintiff (Kudzai) was detained in police cells, whose conditions exposed him to inhuman and degrading treatment. During the time of his unlawful arrest, detention and subsequent prosecution, plaintiff was unable to go to work and lost business opportunities,” Kudzai said through his lawyers.
He further said at all material times, Chitana and Murehwa were acting within their scope and course of employment with the Zimbabwe Republic Polce and Zimbabwe National Army, respectively, when they arrested and detained him for prosecution.
“As a result of the foregoing, plaintiff suffered loss in the sum of $500 000,” he averred, giving a break-down of the whole amount which includes compensation for unlawful arrest, detention, pain, shock and suffering, malicious prosecution, loss of business opportunities, contumelia and cost of suit.
The cited top government officials are yet to respond to the lawsuit.