Home Affairs minister Kezembe Kazembe and Police commissioner General Godwin Matanga have been ordered by Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba, to pay $175, 000 damages to Lilian Chinyerere who was unlawfully assaulted by the police in 2019.
This is the second time the 67 year-old Chinyerere has successfully sued the government.
In 2018, Cain Mathema, former Home Affairs minister was also ordered to pay Chinyerere $13, 500 in damages after she was assaulted by the police.
The latest amount is compensation for the pain and humiliation which she suffered when some law enforcement agents assaulted her during an antigovernmental protest.
Chinyerere, who was represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), sued the two on 22 January 2020 claiming payment of damages amounting to $175, 000 arising from the assault.
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.ZLHR in a statement said 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,” said the rights lawyers.
They added: “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.”
Chinopfukutwa successfully argued that 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 $175 000, Magistrate Mashamba said $100 000 is compensation for damages for affront to dignity, humiliation and
embarrassment while $75 000 is payment for damages for pain and suffering.