BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A HUMAN rights activist has filed an $8 million lawsuit against Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe over unlawful arrest which resulted in him going through a trial for an entire year.
Simon Drury was arrested on August 23 2019 at the New Government Complex in Harare together with eight other human rights activists, including lawyer Douglas Coltart and Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure.
Drury was later acquitted by Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa on August 21 last year.
Drury has cited Kazembe together with Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi.
He submitted that he endured long hours of pre-trial detention before he was prosecuted only to be freed.
“Plaintiff’s claim against the defendants is for payment of the sum of $8 million jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved being damages arising out of malicious prosecution of plaintiff by the defendants for the period extending from August 23, 2019 to August 21, 2020. Plaintiff also claims interest and costs of suit,” Drury said. They were arrested while demonstrating against Finance minister Mthuli Ncube. They were allegedly found singing and dancing while carrying a miniature coffin and a wooden cross.
“Plaintiff suffered damages because of defendants conduct in the sum of $8 million being contumelia, depression, deprivation of freedom and discomfort,” he submitted.
His alleged accomplices Coltart, Masaraure, Gerald Tavengwa, Godfrey Chanda, Andrew Munguri, Nation Mudzitirwa, Shepherd Tazvivinga and Tryvine Musokeri were all acquitted last year.
According to the State, the nine, who were represented by Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and advocates Fadzayi Mahere and David Drury, allegedly interfered with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public by creating a nuisance or obstruction through singing and dancing while carrying a miniature coffin and a small wooden cross at the government building in the capital.