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Oppah Muchinguri sued over January 2019 army crackdown

by Staff reporter
07 Mar 2020 at 06:51hrs | Views
SCORES of citizens, who claim they were assaulted by soldiers during last year's fuel price hike protests, have taken Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri to the High Court demanding compensation.

In the applications, the "victims", who are from different parts of the country, cited Muchinguri-Kashiri and Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Valerio Sibanda as respondents.

Among some of the complainants, who are represented by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, are Richard Simba, Ganizani Mnzinga, Gilbert Mutare, Samson Silocha, Paul Damiano, Stewart Kamunwo, Tinashe Phiri and others. They are demanding $300 000 each.

"The plaintiff's claim is for damages arising from the unlawful conduct of the defendants' employees, who, at all material times, were acting within the normal course and scope of employment.

"The plaintiff avers that on the 14th of January 2019 at around 1700hours, he was at his home in Ruwa when three uniformed Zimbabwe National Army officers armed with rifles came to his home and accused him of having blocked the roads and burnt tyres," Simba said in his court papers.

He said one of the army officers went on to assault him on the buttocks, hand, chest and legs using thick sticks and the butt of a rifle.

"As a result of the assault, plaintiff was injured across his body, particularly his buttocks, hand, chest and legs. The plaintiff avers that the assailants acted unlawfully by assaulting him. As a result of the attack, the plaintiff suffered pain and suffering, humiliation and degradation.

"Further, the assault on plaintiff was a violation of his right to personal security and bodily integrity, including freedom of violence from both public and private sources of the person as protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe," he said.

He demanded $300 000 in damages, an amount similar to the one made by each of the other victims.
In Phiri's case, he said he was assaulted by the soldiers while at Chiwari Shopping Centre in Rusape. He claimed in court papers that he was assaulted while selling his wares.

Mnzinga on the other hand, said he was assaulted while at his home in Kuwadzana, Harare, while Mutare was at a bus terminus in Rusape.

Silocha, who is also suing Chengetai Chapata, a Zimbabwe National Army member, told the court that he was assaulted by soldiers while in Dzivaresekwa, Harare.

Damiano, who also cited Harare mayor Herbert Gomba as a respondent, said he was assaulted while on his way home, while Kamunwo was attacked in Dzivaresekwa.

Muchinguri-Kashiri and Sibanda have since entered their appearance to defend in all the applications.
The matters are still pending before the High Court.

Source - dailynews