By Kumbirai Mafunda
The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have paid ZWL$7 000 to a victim of assault after he successfully sued them with the assistance of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
32 year-old Tomufadzanei Murindagomo sued Owen Ncube, the Minister of State for National Security, Hon. Kazembe Kazembe, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Godwin Matanga, the Commissioner-General of ZRP, some CIO members and some police officers in August 2017 for payment of damages after he was unlawfully arrested from his home and detained by a group of eight people including some CIO operatives and put into the rear boot of the CIO’s Alteza vehicle and driven around for between 30 to 45 minutes until he was eventually released into the custody of a police officer only identified as Constable Kondo and placed in police cells at Glen Norah Police Station.
At Glen Norah Police Station, Murindagomo was held without charge overnight and was later charged with the assault of one Moffat Mavambo. However, Murindagomo was acquitted of the assault charge.
In court, Murindagomo’s lawyer Fiona Iliff of ZLHR argued that the arbitrary arrest, assault and unlawful detention of her client was clearly unjustifiable and unlawful in the circumstances and amounted to violations of several of his fundamental rights including the right to human dignity personal security, freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and of his right to personal liberty.
Iliff charged that the transfer of custody of Murindagomo from State security agents to the police without charge further violated his constitutional rights as an arrested and detained person including the right to be informed of the reasons of arrest, the right to be treated humanely and with dignity, the right to consult a legal practitioner and medical practitioner and his right to a fair hearing.
Iliff said as a result of the CIO members and the ZRP officers’ wrongful conduct, Murindagomo suffered damages amounting to ZWL$7 080 broken down as ZWL$2 000 being damages for assault, ZWL$1 000 for nervous shock, ZWL$1 000 for abuse, ZWL$1 000 for pain and suffering, ZWL$2 000 for unlawful arrest and detention and ZWL$80 as compensation for unlawful deprivation of property, a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone handset.
On Wednesday 27 November 2019, Murindagomo was finally paid ZWL$7 080 as compensation for the violation of his fundamental rights as ordered by Harare Magistrate Farai Gwitima.