By Staff Reporter
TWO Hwange women who were hit and seriously injured by stray bullets during a police crackdown on illegal coke vendors in the mining town have filed notices of intention to sue Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe and the police for damages.
Zulani Mudenda (46) of Madumabisa Village Two in Hwange and her village mate Twaboni Nyoni (26) were shot on August 25 2020 by a police officer who was among a team of law enforcement agents who were conducting an operation against suspected illegal coke vendors in the town.
The women initially wrote to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) demanding an investigation into the matter last November but never got any responses.
They have since filed separate notices of intention to sue the police as well as the Officer-in-Charge Hwange Police Station.
They are represented in the matter by Prisca Dube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
On Mudenda, Dube said her client advised her that on the fateful day, between 8pm and 9pm, she was walking home from work when she was shot at.
“She was stopped by the police officer and she complied. Without any warning, one of the police officers fired his gun and the bullet hit our client in the stomach. Our client fell to the ground,” Dube wrote to the police.
The lawyer said the officer who shot Mudenda further kicked her while she was on the ground.
“She pleaded for help but her call fell on deaf ears. The assault was only interrupted by her husband who then arranged to take her to hospital and that was the last time she saw the police officer who shot and assaulted her,” Dube wrote.
She said as a result, Mudenda sustained serious injuries on the stomach, severe loss of blood that, upon admission at a local hospital, she required a transfusion of five pints of blood and the extent of her injuries required specialised treatment at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo.
Dube said Mudenda was left severely traumatised, fearing for her safety and that of her family.
“As a result of this shooting, our client suffered severe injuries and remains traumatised, which has caused loss of her job.
“Due to the unlawful conduct of these police officers, our client has suffered physical and emotional pain, incurred medical and other expenses,” wrote the lawyer.
On behalf of Nyoni, Dube submitted that her client said on the fateful day, she was struck by a stray bullet discharged by a police officer only identified as Hove while she was seated at her homestead.
“The bullet caused our client to suffer bullet hole injuries on her right breast and upper shoulder area. As a result of the shooting, our client remains severely traumatised.
“Due to the unlawful conduct of the police officer, our client has suffered physical and emotional pain, incurred medical and other expenses,” Dube wrote.
In both cases, Dube submitted that, “In light of this, we have been instructed to give you a notice of intention to institute legal proceedings against the individual officers, Officer in Charge Hwange, Police Commissioner General (Godwin Matanga) and the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage (Kazembe Kazembe) claiming damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other ancillary delictual damages arising as a result of the unlawful conduct of the police officer in question.”
The police are yet to respond to the notice.