‘Hysterical’ cops mock and jeer Mbare friends, mistakenly accusing them of being homosexual; ZRP ordered to pay ZWD$800,000 compensation for illegal arrest

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By Staff Reporter

HOME Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and the ZRP boss Godwin Matanga have been ordered to ZW$800,000 to a Mbare resident who was unlawfully detained and mocked for being gay by police last year.

Harare magistrate Ayanda Dhlamini also chastised the police for mistreating a suspect based on their personal opinions.

The magistrate also said the officers were not even aware of Covid-19 regulations which they accused the victim, Tinashe Maumbe (24), of breaching when they arrested him together with his friends.

According to court papers, Maumbe was arrested together with his friends Reward and Tinashe Majoni on 16 January 2021 while walking past Matapi Police Station in Harare’s Mbare high-density suburb.

Court heard laenforcement agents manning the entrance to the police station enquired where the trio was going.

The ZRP officers accused Maumbe and his friends of being gay and told them that homosexuality is not permitted in Zimbabwe.

“The police officers subsequently detained Maumbe and his friends without pressing any charges against them and jeered at them. The trio was only released after lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) intervened,” said rights lawyers in a statement.

ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga

Maumbe then enlisted the services of Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR and sued Matanga, Kazembe and a police officer only identified as Mabika.

He filed summons in April 2021 at Harare Civil Magistrates Courts demanding ZW$900,000 as damages for unlawful arrest, detention, humiliation and embarrassment.

On November 4 this year the magistrate granted judgment in favour of Maumbe and ordered Matanga, Kazembe and Mabika to pay him ZW$800,000 as compensation for violation of his rights.

She ruled that “ZRP officers had hysterically arrested the 24 year-old on their personal opinion of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, queer and questioning people.

Out of the ZW$800,000 compensation, ZWL$400,000 is for damages for unlawful arrest and detention while ZW$400,000 is compensation for inhuman and degrading treatment.

The Magistrate concluded that Maumbe’s arrest and detention was unlawful and that the police officers had jeered at him and insulted him for allegedly being a homosexual and by so doing, violated his right to human dignity guaranteed in terms of provisions of section 51 of the Constitution.