Police brutality victims to sue Matanga, ministers

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By Mbekezeli Ncube

THREE men who were allegedly assaulted by police and soldiers on separate occasions, suffering varying degrees of injury, have written to Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga declaring their intentions to sue.

Their lawyers Jabulani Mhlanga and Nosimilo Chanayiwa from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said they were also keen to sue the concerned junior officers individually.

They also want to sue the Home Affairs and Defence ministers and the commander of the national army in terms of the State Liabilities Act.

The duo of Sethukani Ncube and Weston Chadomba of Bulawayo as well as Gweru based Trymore Mhari suffered dislocated shoulder, hearing problems as well as broken arm after being severely assaulted by police officers and soldiers enforcing the nationwide lockdown regulations.

Ncube is demanding ZWL$250 000 while Chadomba and Mhari want ZWL$50 000 more than Ncube as compensation.

In one of the letters, Mhlanga said his client, Chadomba came across a police officer and a soldier on his way home.

The law enforcement duo was controlling a truck that was selling subsidised mealie-meal to Njube residents.

All hell broke loose when his client was blocked by the truck.

“As a result, the police officer switched off the engine of his vehicle before removing keys from the ignition and dragging him out of his vehicle and started to assault him with open hands all over his body.

“The soldier joined in and assaulted him using the butt of his gun. As a result, our client suffered serious injuries all over his body and his ears were affected and he is currently having hearing problems,” said Mhlanga.

He went on to say his client was dragged to the police station in the same neighbourhood where he was made to pay a ZWL$500 fine before seeking medical attention at Mpilo Central Hospital.

Mhlanga also said in Ncube’s case, his client was assaulted by eight police officers who used baton sticks and kicked him all over his body resulting in him suffering a dislocated shoulder.

“After conducting their unlawful conduct, my client (Ncube) was dragged to Magwegwe police station where he was detained overnight before being released the following day after paying a fine of ZWL$500 for failing to comply with lockdown regulations,” said Mhlanga.

In the case of Nhari, his lawyer Chanayiwa said he was assaulted by Gweru police officers in the CBD and he suffered a broken left arm.

Immediately thereafter, Nhari made a police report at Gweru Central Police Station where he was allegedly insulted and threatened with physical harm by the officer in charge.

The three cases come barely a week after police in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb landed themselves in hot soup for assaulting two sisters.