Zim Court Punishes Kazembe and Matanga Over Dog Bites

A Zimbabwean court has ordered Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Hon. Kazembe Kazembe and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to pay more than ZWL500 000 to two Beitbridge residents who were mauled by police dogs in 2020.

The two Beitbridge residents Edmund Zeyazeya and Benson Tavengwa sued Kazembe and Matanga for damages amounting to ZWL 3 million and ZWL 1 million after they were severely bitten by a police dog on 1 August 2020 at a fuel station in the border town by law enforcement agents, who were enforcing national lockdown regulations.

ZRP officers arrested the duo to cover up for their negligence in handling the police dog and charged them with disorderly conduct in a public place as defined in Section 41 of the Criminal law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Zeyazeya and Tawengwa were offered the option to pay a fine of which they did and they were released on the same day of arrest. Through their lawyer Patrick Tererai of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, they later on challenged the conviction that was made based on the fine which they paid and sought an order for the refund of their money and the order was granted in September 2020.

Aggrieved by the police conduct, the two residents, who suffered severe injuries of varying degrees and had to be detained for a number of days in hospital, filed summons on 4 December 2020 at Beitbridge Magistrates Court demanding payment amounting to ZWL3 million for Zeyazeya and ZWL1 million for Tawengwa as compensation for violation of their rights.

Lawyers representing ZRP recently agreed to pay ZWL$425 000 to Zeyazeya and ZWL85 000 to Tavengwa as damages arising from the unlawful conduct by ZRP officers.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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