By Mary Taruvinga
A LOCAL human rights activist, Pascal Gonzo has approached the High Court seeking to have Vice President, Kembo Mohadi held in contempt after failing to pay him US$80 000 in damages.
In 2009, Gonzo was abducted and tortured by State security agents.
Also jointly sued with Mohadi is Giles Mutsekwa, a former MDC-T co-Home Affairs minister during the now-defunct inclusive government.
Gonzo, a member of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) was detained and assaulted by police in 2009. He won a lawsuit in which the High Court ordered Mohadi and Mutsekwa to compensate him for the suffering he endured.
The two were then Home Affairs co-ministers and Gonzo said despite repeated demands, he has not been paid.
He was abducted in 2008 on allegations of attempting to topple the now late former President Robert Mugabe’s government.
In his application, Gonzo said in November 2019, the High Court issued an order by consent in his favour that he be paid US$80 000 as damages but the respondents have failed to honour the payment.
“In terms of that respondents were supposed to pay me US$80 000 with US$35 000 as damages for unlawful arrest and detention, US$35 000 as damages of assault, pain, shock and suffering and US$10 000 being the cost of the suit,” reads part of his founding affidavit.
“There can be no doubt that the respondents have knowledge of the judgment it having been entered into by consent and in view of the deed of settlement entered into between the parties.
“On 29 October 2019 through my lawyer, I furnished the respondents with my account number, therefore, the respondents are just unwilling to honour their debt.
“As a consequence, they must be directed to pay US$80 000 together with interest at the prescribed rate from the date of service of summons to the date of payment in full and cost of suit on a legal practitioner and client scale within 14 days of this order failing which they must be committed to imprisonment for 90 days, or until such a time that their contempt is purged.”
Gonzo said he was unhappy that the respondents had not engaged him to seek an extension to pay.
“Had it not been deliberate the respondents would have been apologetic or would have engaged me or my legal practitioners to seek an extension within which time to pay.
“It is this same attitude that has brought us here. The respondents and those acting through them abducted and tortured me without any recourse to the law including court orders. They have no regard for the law. They can’t even fulfil their own undertakings,” Gonzo said.
The 10 other respondents are; the then Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri, Commissioner General of Prisons Paradzayi Zimondi, former ministers Patrick Chinamasa, Didymus Mutasa, former Director General Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Happyton Bonyongwe, Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, former police chief superintendent Crispen Makedenge and Police Chief Superintendent Samuel Magwenzi, a former detective chief inspector Opha Mpofu and deputy director of CIO Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi.