Chief, residents sue over State brutality


A GWERU chief and two Bulawayo residents have filed notices of intention to sue the police and the army for damages after brutalisation by the security officers during lockdown.

By Silas Nkala

Trymore Nhari, a chief in Gweru, as well as Weston Chadomba of Njube and Sethukani Ncube, of Lobengula in Bulawayo, on Wednesday filed their notices of intention to sue the police in terms of the State Liabilities Act Chapter 8:14 and the Police Act Chapter 11:20.

Their notices were addressed to Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga.

In their notice, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said Chief Nhari was with Shepherd Moyo in Gweru central business district on April 30 at around 10am.

“They met a truckload of police officers who, without just cause, stopped the vehicle, disembarked, harassed and assaulted them with baton sticks,” ZLHR wrote.

ZLHR said the police accused Nhari and his colleague of violating the lockdown regulations. Nhari reported the matter at Mtapa Police Station.

At 3pm, he came across another group of police officers who assaulted him again and damaged his chieftaincy badges, three mobile phones, a wrist watch and a laptop.

“As a result, his left arm was broken and he made a report to Gweru Central Police Station, where he requested an escort to Gweru Hospital. His request was declined and he was insulted and threatened with physical violence by the officer-in-charge,” ZLHR wrote.

The chief suffered physical, emotional pain and injuries and incurred financial expenses in medical bills all to be evaluated and quantified.

In the other notice, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said Chadomba was beaten up by a police officer and soldier in Njube, Bulawayo, on May 1.

“The police officer and the soldier were in uniform. Our client is able to identify them as having been seconded from your police station. He advises that he was coming from his place of employment, driving his vehicle proceeding to his place of residence when he met the police officer and the soldier who were controlling the truck that was selling subsidised mealie-meal,”

the notice read. “Our client further advises us that there was a misunderstanding between him and the police officer as he wanted to pass and proceed to his home, but the truck was blocking his way.”

The police officer switched off Chadomba’s car, removed keys from the ignition, dragged him out of the vehicle and assaulted him. The soldier hit him with the butt of a gun and without just cause in violation of his rights.

Chadomba allegedly suffered serious injuries all over the body and now has a hearing impairment resulting from the battering, ZLHR stated.

Police took him to Njube Police Station where he was jointly charged with two other persons and made to pay a $300 fine under duress for an unspecified offence, ZLHR said.

“He was released after paying the fine and he proceeded to Mpilo Hospital, where he was medically attended to. As a result of unlawful conduct of the concerned officers, our client suffered physical and emotional pain. Our client suffered financial loss in paying for his medical bills and other related expenses (yet to be quantified).”

On Ncube, ZLHR said he was assaulted with truncheons, booted feet and open hands all over his body by eight uniformed police officers while at home on April 25 at 7pm. The officers based at Magwegwe Police Station assaulted Ncube without just cause and in violation of his constitutional rights, ZLHR wrote.

“As a result of these wanton and savage attacks, he suffered serious injuries on his person, which included a dislocated left shoulder. Upon realising the impact of their actions and the extent of the injuries sustained by our client and in a bid to cover up their unlawful conduct, they dragged him into a vehicle and took him to Magwegwe Police Station, where he was detained overnight. He was released the following day after having been made to pay a fine of $500 on fabricated allegations of contravening the lockdown regulations.”

ZLHR said their client suffered physical and emotional pain, sustained serious injuries and needs to undergo a series of check-ups at Mpilo Central Hospital, suffering financial loss and other related medical expenses yet to be quantified.

ZLHR stated that they were under instruction to institute legal proceedings against the police service, the police officers concerned, the Police Commissioner-General, Home Affairs minister, Defence minister and Commander of the National Army for unlawful conduct.

Matanga is yet to respond to the notices.