HOME Affairs minister Cain Mathema and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga face a for $500 000 lawsuit each for the arrest and harassment of MDC organising secretary Amos Chibaya during the January fuel price hike protests.
By Brenna Matendere
Chibaya was arrested in January after being accused of inciting public violence in a case in which police said he addressed youths at his house in Mkoba and incited them to embark on violent conduct during protests against fuel price increases announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He was kept at Gweru Central Police Station cells for four days after the police applied for a further detention order at the lapse of the mandatory 48 hours.
He was later detained at Whawha medium prison for over two weeks after police opposed bail at the Magistrates’ Court, only to be granted his freedom at the Masvingo High Court.
In March, provincial magistrate Charity Maphosa then acquitted him of the charges at the end of the State’s case.
However, documents obtained by Southern Eye indicate that the Mkoba legislator will formally sue Mathema, Matanga and the Central Investigations Department’s Law and Order police officers who arrested him and handled his case.
The official notice to sue was delivered to the respondents on May 29 and expires at the end of this month, after the lapse of the 60 days that are permitted at law.
Chibaya’s lawyer, Reginald Chidawanyika, confirmed the development and said Mathema and Matanga, together with the other respondents, had not responded to the notice.
“We are taking those who were responsible for the persecution of MP Chibaya during the fuel hike protests to the High Court demanding damages of $500 000 per person. The arrest and the pain suffered by my client during the lengthy detention were with no basis and the police knew he was innocent,” Chidawanyika said.
Investigations by Chibaya’s lawyers revealed that Moffart Kanda, one of the witnesses the police had intended to lead in court, saying he was part of the gathering addressed by Chibaya at his house was, in fact, a fugitive.
Kanda has a case of illegal possession of a firearm that was allegedly committed in 2006, but he fled the country at that time.