Kazembe and Matanga Evade Jail, Compensate Police Shooting Victim

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga have evaded imprisonment after compensating Loveness Chiriseri, a victim of police shooting.

Kazembe and Matanga risked being imprisoned for contempt of court after they failed to pay compensation to Chiriseri as ordered by High Court Judge Justice Edith Mushore in July 2020.

But on Thursday 6 May 2021, ZRP saved Kazembe, Matanga and Chief Inspector Modwick Musonza, the Officer in Charge of St Mary’s Police Station in Chitungwiza from serving jail time after the law enforcement agency finally paid compensation amounting to RTGS $1 418 703.09 to Chiriseri as damages for the reckless and indiscriminate shooting of the Chitungwiza resident.

Chiriseri was awarded US$16 788 in damages after she was assisted by Fiona Iliff of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to sue when she shot by police officers in August 2018. She was injured when a police officer manning a police checkpoint at the intersection of Seke road and Delport road shot twice at a private vehicle she was travelling in as a passenger.

Chiriseri sued Matanga, Kazembe, Chief Inspector Musonza and Finance Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube for damages for injuries sustained as a result of the shooting, medical expenses, pain and suffering, nervous shock and loss of amenities to life.

In court, Iliff argued that the police officer who shot Chiriseri applied excessive force and that the officer’s constitutional right was exercised in an overzealous and questionable manner.

In her extensive ruling, Justice Mushore noted that Chiriseri posed no danger to the public or to the internal security of the country or to law and order and that she was an unarmed non-threatening passenger in a vehicle.

The police officer, Justice Mushore said, had no basis to fire a weapon at a civilian target and if it was his intention to stop the driver of the vehicle in which Chiriseri was travelling in from proceeding through a checkpoint, he ought to have fired a warning shot into the air.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights