By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube, Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe, and the Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga have evaded imprisonment after compensating Loveness Chiriseri, a victim of a police shooting over $1.4 million.
The two senior officials risked imprisonment for contempt of court after they failed to pay compensation to Chiriseri as ordered by High Court judge, Justice Edith Mushore in July 2020.
However, Thursday, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) saved Ncube, Kazembe, Matanga, and Chief Inspector Modwick Musonza, the officer-in-charge of St Mary’s police station in Chitungwiza from serving jail time after they paid full compensation totalling $1 418 703.09 to Chiriseri.
The compensation is to the victim for damages for the reckless and indiscriminate shooting by the police.
Chiriseri was awarded US$16 788 in damages by Justice Mushore after her lawyer Fiona Iliff from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) sued Ncube, Kazembe, Matanga, and Musonza.
She was at by a police officer in August 2018 when a cop manning a checkpoint at the intersection of Seke and Delport roads shot twice at a private vehicle she was travelling in as a passenger.
She was suing for injuries sustained as a result of the shooting, medical expenses, pain and suffering, nervous shock and loss of amenities to life.
In court, Iliff argued that the police officer who shot Chiriseri applied excessive force and that the officer’s constitutional right was exercised in an overzealous and questionable manner.
In her ruling, Justice Mushore noted Chiriseri posed no danger to the public or to the internal security of the country or to law and order, and that she was an unarmed, non-threatening passenger in a vehicle.
The police officer, Justice Mushore said, had no basis to fire a weapon at a civilian and if it was his intention to stop the driver of the vehicle in which Chiriseri was travelling in, he ought to have fired a warning shot into the air.