By Staff Reporter
HOME Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner General Godwin Matanga could be jailed for ignoring a High Court order to compensate a man who was shot and permanently disabled by anti-riot officers.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has filed an application at Harare High Court seeking an order to get Kazembe and Matanga jailed 30 days for willfully reneging on the order to compensate Pardon Chitongo.
Kazembe and Matanga had in 2022 been ordered to pay Chitongo ZW$3,7 million.
Wheelchair bound Chitongo was shot during January 2019 anti-government protests as he stood outside his uncle’s home in Epworth.
A bullet went through his arm, damaged a kidney which was eventually removed, permanently damaged his spinal cord and came out the other end where it again injured his other arm.
Since then, Chitongo has been relying on expensive painkillers to ease pain in his body.
He is being represented by ZLHR’s Paidamoyo Saurombe and Fiona Iliff.
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“Kazembe and Godwin Matanga were on 3 August 2022 ordered by High Court Judge Justice Gladys Mhuri to pay ZW$3,7 million to Chitongo as damages after he was shot by ZRP officers on 14 January 2019.
“Chitongo was shot by ZRP officers while he was standing outside his uncle’s house when police officers recklessly and indiscriminately started shooting towards him, ostensibly to target some protestors during an anti-government demonstration.
“He had not been protesting, was simply caught in the crossfire and was hit by a bullet which pierced through his arm, penetrated through his body, coming out on the other side of his body and hitting the other arm.
“As a result of the grave nature of his injuries, Chitongo had to undergo an operation to remove one of his kidneys after he suffered permanent damage to his spinal cord.
“The two have reneged on paying damages and this forced Chitongo to file an application seeking an order to hold the duo to be in contempt of court and that they be sentenced to 30 days in prison for defaulting on paying the judgment debt.”
Zimbabweans shutdown the country for about two weeks in January 2019, protesting an unjustified fuel price hike and general hardships as a two decade long economic crisis further squeezed them.
Anti-riot officers were deployed across the country to quell protests that had begun to spontaneously pop-up.
Some 12 citizens were reportedly killed by state security agents in the process while countless were beaten or tortured for allegedly participating in the anti-Zanu PF protests which came barely six months after the army had gunned down six on August 1, 2018.