By Mary Taruvinga
AS President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government continues to receive a battering over his tortured human rights record, two widows and 47 other ordinary citizens who got the sharp end of State repression in the past year have approached the High Court for recourse.
Zimbabwe was engulfed in violent protests after Mnangagwa announced a 150% fuel price hike.
Labour federation the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) called for a stay-away that turned into an orgy of violence. Mnangagwa was forced to unleash the military in which live ammunition was used. Reports claimed at least 17 people were gunned down in the chaos.
There since have been a slew of lawsuits and on Monday, 49 people, among them, two woman whose spouses were killed during the protests launched claims with the High Court for compensation.
All litigants cite Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, her Home Affairs counterpart Cain Mathema and others.
One of the widows, Erenia Guwa, a taxi driver from Marondera is demanding $901 000 saying the police killed her husband, Solomon Nyaruwa.
In her affidavit, Guwa said her husband Solomon Nyaruwa was killed by security forces on January 15.
“On January 15 this year at around 2pm at Dombotombo B Centre in Marondera, a group of uniformed Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) acting in concert with one another, killed plaintiff’s husband, Solomon Nyaruwa.
“The actions of the ZRP officers were unlawful, unjustified and wrongful. The deceased was a general dealer and breadwinner to plaintiff and her two minor children. The deceased owed a legal duty of support to his immediate family during his lifetime
“As a result of the unlawful killing, plaintiff has suffered grief, emotional distress, incurred funeral expenses and loss of prospective support for herself and her two minor children,” read part of Guwa’s affidavit.
Guwa is demanding $1 000 funeral expenses, $300 000 for shock, pain and suffering and $600 000 for loss of support.
One Patrica Serina Kamuriwo, a cleaner is suing Mathema for $700 000.
She said the damages arose after she was shot on January 14 2019 at Domboramwari in Epworth by police officers.
The State security forces allegedly killed her husband as well.
“At all material times, the members of the ZRP involved in the killing of the plaintiff’s husband were acting within the course and scope of their duties. As such, the defendant is vicariously liable for their actions. By reason of death of plaintiffs’ husband from the wrongful and unlawful shooting, the plaintiff has suffered and will suffer damages in the total sum of $700 000,” said Kamuriwo in her summons.
The suspects are being represented by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and the litigants are yet to respond.
Over 100 victims of the protests have since approached the High Court this year seeking compensation.
Godwin Matanga has also been cited as a respondent in the summons.
The ministers have not yet responded as more lawsuits against continue to pile up.