Court orders ZRP and commuter omnibus driver to pay $4,000 to woman shot at roadblock

A ZIMBABWEAN court has ordered the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Home Affairs Minister and a commuter omnibus driver to pay more than $4 000 in damages to Constance Tshuma as compensation for some injuries and the disfigurement she suffered in 2014 after some negligent ZRP officers shot at a commuter omnibus in which she was a passenger.

Plumtree Magistrate Taurai Manuwere recently handed down a judgment in which he awarded damages amounting to $4 098 to Tshuma for the pain, suffering and disfigurement she suffered emanating from some injuries she sustained on 23 October 2014, when a ZRP officer indiscriminately fired a firearm at a stationary vehicle in which she was travelling in from Plumtree to Bulawayo.

In summons filed at Plumtree Magistrates Court by her lawyers Lizwe Jamela and Shepherd Chamunorwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Tshuma charged that she was caught up in the wars between police officers and commuter omnibus drivers when she was hit by a bullet after some law enforcement agents fired ostensibly to force the driver of a commuter omnibus she was travelling in to stop.

Tshuma, who engaged the services of ZLHR in her bid for compensation and to make the police account for their negligence was on her way from Botswana in October 2014 when police officers operating in the Marula area near Plumtree fired shots to stop the vehicle she was travelling in. The police officers wanted to apprehend the driver, Mbonisi Mpofu, whom they alleged had tried to avoid a police roadblock. The roadblock was supervised by a police officer identified as Assistant Inspector Christmas.

In a judgment handed down on Thursday 29 March 2018, Magistrate Manuwere ordered Mpofu, the Officer in Charge of Plumtree Police Station, ZRP Commissioner-General Matanga and Home Affairs Minister Mpofu to pay $2 000 as damages for pain and suffering, $1 098 as damages for hospital and medical expenses and $1 000 as damages for disfigurement to Tshuma.

Magistrate Manuwere ruled that the ZRP’s conduct was not reasonably justified and there were other avenues of arresting Mpofu such as requesting for reinforcement from Plumtree Police Station if indeed the driver of the commuter omnibus had turned his vehicle and drove back towards Plumtree.

Through its anti-impunity litigation programme, ZLHR seeks to deter and discourage acts of human rights violations.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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