Muchinguri Sweats over Army Delinquency

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday 8 February 2022 hear an appeal filed by Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri seeking to overturn a High Court decision upholding a lower court’s order regarding a lawsuit filed by a Harare resident seeking compensation for assault during anti-government protests held three years ago.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to preside over the matter at 9:30 AM at Mashonganyika building in Harare.

Muchunguri who is represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri wants the Supreme Court to overturn a High Court ruling dismissing her appeal against the decision of the Magistrates Court on an exception which she filed on Harare resident Kudzai Makunde’s summons.

Makunde, who is represented by Advocate Taona Nyamakura instructed by Tinomuda Shoko of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, filed summons at Harare Magistrates (Civil) Court in 2019 suing Muchinguri, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Hon. Kazembe Kazembe and Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga for violating his fundamental rights.

Makunde was assaulted by a group of armed soldiers and police officers numbering about 50 while on his way home from visiting his brother in Tafara high-density in Harare on 14 January 2019 during anti-government protests over fuel price hike.

Shoko and Nyamakura stated that Makunde was ordered to lie on the ground and assaulted with wooden logs on his back and thighs and was also kicked all over his body.

Makunde, Shoko and Nyamakura said, was ordered to remove some burning tyres, rocks and a broken down vehicle that was on the road resulting in him sustaining some injuries of which he was hospitalised.

In her appeal, the Defence, Security and War Veterans Minister is arguing that Makunde’s summons in which he sought compensation for violation of his fundamental rights did not identify the alleged perpetrators by their names and did not disclose a cause of action based on vicarious liability against her.

Muchinguri argued that Makunde’s alleged failure to disclose the identities of the perpetrators was fatal to his cause of action.

Makunde had argued that the soldiers who assaulted him were employed by Ministry of Defence, Security and War Veterans and they were acting within the course and scope of their employment.

Muchinguri defended soldiers from committing the offence and instead indicated that some ZRP officers could have assaulted Makunde and also claimed that he could have been beaten by some criminals masquerading as soldiers.

But the Harare resident insists that Muchinguri, Hon. Kazembe and Matanga are in charge of deploying their subordinates and hence they know the identities of their members who operated at specific points on 14 January 2019.

Makunde argued that once he made an allegation against soldiers, Muchinguri had a duty to investigate the issue and to identify her members who perpetrated the unlawful acts as well as to discipline them.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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