By Robert Tapfumaneyi
A HARARE magistrate has ordered Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to pay more than RTGS$50 000 to a Mazowe man as compensation.
This is for damages to his vehicle, which was burnt to a shell in 2019 by some police operatives who were evicting illegal miners at Jumbo Mine in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central province.
Philemon Jijita, who runs a tuckshop at Masasa Farm in Mazowe, sued Matanga and Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe in December 2019 demanding payment for damages to his Nissan Hi-Rider vehicle in May 2019.
Jijita’s vehicle, which had been parked with flat tyres at the farm, caught fire when police burnt some housing structures, cabins and some grass structures that were close to his car.
His pleas to the police officers were ignored as the law enforcement agents ordered him to move away.
With the assistance of Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Jijita sued Matanga and Kazembe demanding compensation for the damage caused to the vehicle.
During trial before magistrate Dhliwayo, Chinopfukutwa argued that Jijita suffered severe shock and trauma at witnessing his vehicle being wantonly burnt down by police officers without reasonable justification.
This resulted in Dhliwayo ordering Matanga and Kazembe to pay RTGS$56 640 as compensation for damages to Jijita’s property.