Slipshod Discharge of Duty Costs ZRP Dearly as High Court Orders Compensation...

Slipshod Discharge of Duty Costs ZRP Dearly as High Court Orders Compensation of Negligent Shooting Victims

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A ZIMBABWEAN court has ordered authorities to pay US$13 000 to two victims of police brutality, who sued Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for negligence, after some law enforcements agents carelessly shot and wounded them last year in Chitungwiza.

The two Chitungwiza residents Tashinga Mugwara, who was aged 19 years in 2022 and Pamela Muchazorwewa, were shot on 27 June 2022 while at a liquefied gas refuelling station at Taita Shops in Chitungwiza by some ZRP officers, who were reportedly pursuing a robbery suspect before they ordered everyone, who was at the gas filling station to lie down.

On 28 June 2022, ZRP issued a statement in which the law enforcement agency acknowledged shooting Mugwara and Muchazorwewa and explained the shooting as having occurred as police officers were chasing after Denis Madondo, whom they claimed to be a fugitive armed robber.

Mugwara and Muchazorwewa were assisted by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, to sue Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Hon. Kazembe Kazembe and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, for negligently shooting them.

In summons filed at the High Court in October 2022, Mugwara and Muchazorwewa claimed payment of damages amounting to US$15 000 each arising from the negligent conduct of ZRP officers, who left them hospitalised after they negligently shot them.

Out of the US$15 000, US$5 000 was listed as damages for pain and suffering, US$5 000 for contumelia and affront to dignity while US$5 000 was damages for future medical expenses.

In the case of Mugwara, he was shot on his right hand near the elbow at close range while the bullet, which shot him went through his lower body and went out through his back resulting in him suffering severe injuries and had to be operated at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

It was feared that Mugwara will potentially suffer from adhesive bowel obstruction in future as a result of the injuries which he sustained owing to the unwarranted shooting by ZRP officers.

Muchazorwewa was shot while on her way home after she had picked up her daughter from school and was severely injured and had to undergo an operation while detained in hospital too.

In court, Chinopfukutwa argued that in shooting Mugwara and Muchazorwewa, ZRP officers had acted negligently as the duo had not committed any criminal offence, was unarmed and had not threatened the law enforcement agents in any way which justified their resort to severe force.

The human rights lawyer argued that it was reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances that for ZRP officers to resort to the use of live ammunition at a shopping centre, would result in injury to innocent civilians.

Recently, two High Court Judges Justice Rogers Manyangadze and Justice Anne-Lucy Mungwari, ordered Matanga and Hon. Kazembe to pay US$6 500 each to Mugwara and Muchazorwewa as compensation for ZRP’s negligence in the discharge of its law enforcement duties.

ENDS

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Kodzero/Amalungelo House
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
Email: info@zlhr.org.zw
www.zlhr.org.zw
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