from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) –THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe government must again pay for the brutal actions of its security forces in quelling demonstrations.
A court has ordered the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to pay more than US$10 000 as compensation to a couple assaulted and tortured by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) during protests against the fuel hikes in 2019.
Canaan Machando and his wife Sipetangani Machando are the latest victims to successfully sue the government.
Harare Magistrate, Winfilda Tiyatara, during trial heard how the couple were brutalised in front of their two children at home in the high-density suburb of Chitungwiza.
Sipetangani was slapped and kicked.
Police officers and soldiers ordered Canaan to lie flat on his stomach, stepped on him, assaulted and directed him to sit in a bucket full of cold water.
He sustained injuries to his back, thighs and eardrum.
Their mobile phones were damaged.
Police officers threw teargas canisters inside their house and caused some damage.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights helped the Machandos file a lawsuit against ZRP and Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe.
In her ruling, Tiyatara said the couple and their children suffered emotional pain, trauma and shock.
She ordered Matanga and Kazembe to pay US$5 000 each or its equivalent of RTGS$450 000 each to Canaan and Sipetangani.
The officials also have to pay a total of RTGS$80 800 for the mobile phones.
“There was no legal justification whatsoever for them (officers) to have conducted themselves in such a wayward manner,” the magistrate said.
Zimbabwean security forces are infamous for violently dispersing anti-government protesters.
The forces’ response to the three-day demonstrations in 2019 left 12 people dead, some 172 injured and 600 others arrested.
– CAJ News