By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THREE MDC Alliance MPs have approached court seeking compensation for alleged violation of their fundamental rights when dozens of police officers stormed parliament late last year and wrestled all opposition lawmakers out of the legislative chamber.
The legislators, Lynette Karenyi-Kore, Thabitha Khumalo and Amos Chibaya, claim they were assaulted during skirmishes which were also witnessed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputies.
The MPs were subjected to the punitive action on the orders of Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda after they had refused to rise as a sign of respect for Mnangagwa who had entered parliament for the presentation of the national budget by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
In their lawsuit, filed through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the MPs argue they were assaulted with clenched fists and open hands and had their clothes torn during a melee that was captured live on ZBC TV.
ZLHR’s Tinomuda Shoko argues the assault on legislators amounted to violation of their constitutional rights to be treated “humanely, with respect, with dignity and not to be subjected to physical, psychological torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment guaranteed in sections 50, 51, 52 and 53 of the Constitution”.
Karenyi says she was wrestled down by three police officers and suffered injuries on her right arm.
She is now demanding $9 000 for damages emanating from “shock, pain, suffering and past and future medical expenses”.
Mkoba legislator, Chibaya is demanding $9 000 compensation being damages for pain, suffering and medical bills he incurred for treatment.
Khumalo, who is asthmatic, says she lost her breath during the fracas and sustained some bruises on her hand and right hip when she was manhandled by police.
She is also demanding $9 000 for shock, pain and suffering and for past and future medical expenses.
Karenyi and Khumalo were hospitalised following the skirmishes.
Cited as respondents in the lawsuit are Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema as respondents.