Varsity Student Sues Minister Kazembe, Police Chief Matanga For $1m

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By Staff Reporter

A UNIVERSITY student, arrested for inciting public violence ahead of the abortive July 31 2020 anti-government protests, has filed a $1 million lawsuit against Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga, and Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe.

Panashe Vongai Sivandani, a National University of Science and Technology (NUST) student is also suing the National Prosecuting Authority for wrongful arrest.

She was arrested for displaying posters reading; “Free Hopewell Chin’ono”, “No to Nepotism”, “No to Corruption” during the foiled national protests.

Sivandani is being assisted by Bruce Masamvu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and has since filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court citing Matanga, Kazembe and the NPA as defendants.

The summons, dated March 12, state the defendants were to defend the claim for damages for unlawful, malicious arrest and prosecution for $1 million.

Sivandani said on July 31 2020, the defendants wrongfully and maliciously set the law in motion by laying charges of inciting violence against her.

“On date mentioned, plaintiff arrived at Bulawayo Central Police Station to file a report of the kidnapping of her and her companion, one Abednigo Shakafuswa. The report is still pending under case CR105/07/20,” read her claim.

“Following the kidnapping report and recovery of the plaintiff’s car with the help of the police, which car had been taken by the kidnappers, the plaintiff was then informed to report to Khumalo Police Station. On arrival at Khumalo Police Station, her mobile phone was seized by the police and she was detained, unattended, in the charge office from 2 pm to 8 pm.”

At 8pm after her lawyers located her, they were advised of Sivandani’s arrest and was charged with inciting public violence.

She was further detained in cells overnight before being taken to Tredgold Magistrates’ Courts on August 1 where the prosecutors agreed to place her on remand.

Sivandani was then granted bail pending trial and appeared in court four times before she applied for refusal of further remand which was also granted.

She said the prosecution had authority to decline to prosecute her but did so despite lack of evidence.

“As a result of defendants’ wrongful and malicious conduct which was politically motivated, they have together caused emotional trauma, pain and suffering to the plaintiff by preferring baseless charges, detaining and prosecuting the plaintiff,” reads the claim.

“The plaintiff is accordingly claiming non patrimonial damages for nervous shock, emotional trauma, pain and suffering. As a result of the defendant’s conduct, the plaintiff suffered damages in the sum of $1 million.”

Defendants are yet to respond to the claim.