By Mary Taruvinga
POLICE Commissioner General, Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe have been slapped with a $783 100 lawsuit after three Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers shot a Harare man who tried to stop the cops from assaulting his relative.
The victim is Onward Takunda Machangara while the incident took place at Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza.
His assailants, Constables Tinashe Tawodzera, Watts Nhema and Blessing Afiki, all stationed at Makoni Police Station, have also been cited as respondents in the matter.
Machangara still has the bullet fragments lodged in his ankle, nine months after he was shot and says he is always in great pain.
His attorneys, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rights (ZLHR) said in the summons, the incident occurred on or about May 21 2019.
The lawyers said Machangara was visiting a relative at Makoni Shopping Centre when he saw the fifth defendant (Afiki) beating his uncle Spencer Machangara.
Machangara grabbed the police officer in a bid to rescue his uncle not knowing he was a law enforcement agent.
He said Tawodzera disembarked from his vehicle and shot him at the base of his leg with his firearm.
“The bullet went through one side of the plaintiff’s leg and out the other side. The plaintiff collapsed to the ground before the other officers cited as respondents started assaulting him by kicking him in the stomach,” reads part of the summons.
After that he was taken to Makoni Police Station where he was charged for defeating course of justice.
Court was told that his relatives who followed him at the station enquiring about his arrest were also arrested and charged for obstructing course of justice.
Machangara was acquitted on September 30 last year.
“The plaintiff sustained severe pain, shock and humiliation as a result of his ill-treatment at the hands of the police officers in public as if he were a criminal and the subsequent trial. He continues to suffer from trauma, shock and anxiety,” said his lawyers.
After being charged he was admitted at Chitungwiza Hospital from May 21 to May 23.
Machanagara, according to the summons, subsequently attended a private clinic daily for two months for treatment of his wound.
“He has sustained permanent injury and will not regain full use of his leg. He still has bullet fragments in his leg causing continuous pain. He requires surgery to remove the fragments and afterwards will require rehabilitation treatment and physiotherapy,” wrote his lawyers.
Court papers show that prior to the incident, Machangara had worked for Levyhika Enterprises in Johannesburg South Africa as a boiler maker.
Machangara said he earned R7 000 per week but has been unable to return to work since June 2019 as a result of his injuries.
He said he now has to retrain for a new profession and hunt for another job.
Machangara wants $7 600 being special damages for hospital and medical expenses incurred after the shooting.
He wants $100 000 for future medical expenses, for surgery and treatment of injuries, trauma, nervous shock, anxiety and depression arising from the said assault, shooting and ill treatment, an additional $175 500 he claims is for loss of earnings arising from his inability to go back to work.
The plaintiff also wants $100 000 for loss or reduction of future earnings saying his permanent disability is affecting his earning capability.
Machangara wants $200 000 for pain, suffering, depression, trauma given that he was an innocent person going about his business not expecting to be assaulted, shot and get arrested.
For his humiliation, he is demanding $100 0000 and a further $100 000 being special damages for disfigurement and loss of amenities of life.
The case is yet to be heard.