Harare Magistrate Victoria Mashamba has ordered Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Hon. Kazembe Kazembe and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to pay damages amounting to RTGS$175 000 to 67 year-old Lillian Chinyerere as compensation for the pain and humiliation which she suffered in 2019 when some law enforcement agents assaulted her during an anti-government protest.
Represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Chinyerere sued Hon. Kazembe and Matanga on 22 January 2020 claiming payment of damages amounting to RTGS$175 000 arising from the assault by ZRP officers.
Chinyerere was assaulted by some truncheon-wielding ZRP officers on 16 August 2019 near Africa Unity Square in central Harare together with other protestors who were participating in a peaceful anti-government demonstration. As a result of the assault by ZRP members, Chinyerere sustained injuries on her back, on her hands and a dislocated finger and had to seek medical treatment.
In court, Chinopfukutwa argued that Chinyerere’s dignity was severely impaired due to the inhumane and degrading treatment she was subjected to by ZRP officers as she is an elderly member of the society and was also humiliated by the vicious assault in full view of the public. Chinopfukutwa said the 67 year-old Chinyerere was subjected to pain and suffering and nervous shock emanating from the injuries which she sustained as a result of the unlawful assault perpetrated upon her by ZRP officers.
The human rights lawyer argued that Hon. Kazembe and Matanga are liable to compensate Chinyerere for the damages which she suffered as a consequent of the unlawful assault by ZRP officers as the law enforcement agents were acting within the scope of their employment and under the control of the two. By assaulting Chinyerere, Chinopfukutwa said ZRP officers had violated her right to human dignity, right to freedom of assembly and association and freedom to demonstrate and petition enshrined in the Constitution.
Out of a total of RTGS$175 000, Magistrate Mashamba said RTGS$100 000 is compensation for damages for affront to dignity, humiliation and embarrassment while RTGS$75 000 is payment for damages for pain and suffering.
This is the second time that the court has ordered ZRP and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to compensate Chinyerere as in 2018 the then High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi ordered ZRP and Hon. Cain Mathema, who served as Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister to pay $13 500 in damages to her after she was assaulted by some law enforcement agents on 26 August 2016 during an anti-government protest.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights