BY STAFF REPORTER
A HARARE magistrate has ordered Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe to pay more than US$10 000 to a couple that was roughed up by law enforcement agents in Chitungwiza in 2019.
In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said Matanga and Kazembe were ordered to pay US$5 000 each or its equivalent in local currency to the victims of police brutality, Canaan Machando and his wife Sipetangani as compensation for violation of their rights and their property.
In addition, the magistrate Winfild Tiyatara ordered Matanga and Kazembe to pay $56 800 to Canaan and $24 000 to Sipetangani as compensation for damages to their mobile phone handsets.
During trial, Canaan and Sipetangani, who were assisted by Fiona Iliff of ZLHR to sue Matanga and Kazembe, told Tiyatara that on January 14, 2019, some ZRP officers, along with some soldiers who had been deployed to quell anti-government protests, slapped Sipetangani several times and kicked her in the presence of her two children.
The police officers and soldiers also ordered Canaan to lie flat on his stomach, stepped on him before assaulting him.
In her ruling, magistrate Tiyatara said Sipetengani and Canaan, and their children suffered emotional pain, trauma and shock from the incident and the couple was humiliated and embarrassed by the indignity of being forced out of their home owing to misconduct by police officers.
The magistrate said the conduct of ZRP officers was unlawful and “there was no legal justification whatsoever for them to have conducted themselves in such a wayward manner”.
The magistrate also ruled that the actions of the ZRP officers were so indiscriminate, unwarranted, and unnecessary and that their conduct fell short of the duty of care that the police service has towards civilians.