A SOLDIER and a police officer are undergoing trial after they were
arrested and charged for assaulting a Bulawayo resident Weston
Chandomba during the national lockdown period.Obvious Nkomo
aged 35 years, who is a soldier based at Induna Barracks
and is employed as a corporal in the Zimbabwe National Army and
Sergeant Dennis Maturi aged 45 years, who is employed by Zimbabwe
Republic Police appeared before Magistrate Jaconiah Ncube at Western
Commonage Court in Bulawayo on Friday 26 June 2020 to answer to
charges of assault as defined in section 89(1)(a) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.Prosecutors told Magistrate Ncube that Nkomo and Maturi assaulted the
33 year-old Chandomba 33, who is employed as a mechanic on 1 May 2020
in Bulawayo’s Njube high-density suburb by slapping him with open
hands and a butt of a riffle intending to cause bodily harm.
Prosecutors said Nkomo and Maturi were on duty escorting a truck
selling maize meal and conducting routine checks when they quarreled
with Chandomba and accused him of causing or behaving in a disorderly
manner before assaulting him.
After assaulting Chandomba, prosecutors said Nkomo and Maturi
handcuffed him together with other persons and ordered them to sit
down on the tarmac before taking them to Njube Police Station, where
he was detained for several hours until he was released without any
charges preferred against him.
Prosecutors told Magistrate Ncube that Chandomba sustained a damaged
right ear from the assault by Nkomo and Maturi.
Nkomo and Maturi are the first publicly known security services
personnel to be arraigned before the courts charged with violating
citizens’ rights during the national lockdown period.
Several people across the country have endured harassment, assault and
torture at the hands of soldiers and police officers during the
national lockdown period which was declared by President Emmerson
Mnangagwa in March in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus, which
has affected more than 500 people in Zimbabwe.
In April, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), had to approach
the High Court to secure court orders to stop soldiers and police
officers from harassing, assaulting and violating citizens’ rights
while enforcing regulations during the national lockdown period.
Already, several people across the country represented by ZLHR are
suing soldiers and police officers for violating their fundamental
rights during the ongoing national lockdown period.