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Activists sue State for Damages Over Detention

SIXTEEN MDC-T and human rights activists and a journalist are demanding a combined US$19,2 million in damages from two cabinet ministers and state security agents for their alleged abduction, unlawful detention incommunicado, and deprivation of liberty last year.


The activists and journalist filed their lawsuit with the High Court on Tuesday and are demanding US$1,2 million each.

Each of the plaintiffs is demanding US$500 000 in damages for unlawful abduction, enforced disappearance, unlawful detention incommunicado, unlawful arrest and unlawful deprivation of liberty; US$100 000 for assault; US$300 000 for torture, pain, shock, suffering and psychological trauma, contumelia and loss of amenities of life; and a further US$300 000 for malicious prosecution.
Collen Mutemagau, Kisimusi Dhlamini, Audrey Zimbudzana, Zakaria Nkomo, Gandhi Mudzingwa, Fidelis Chiramba, Broderick Takawira, Mapfumo Garutsa, Pascal Gonzo, Tawanda Bvumo, Violet Mupfuranhewe, Chinoto Mukwezaramba, Pieta Kaseke, Regis Mujeye and journalist Andrison Manyere are each demanding US$1,2 million in compensation.
They are demanding the compensation from the co-Ministers of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, then Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Police Commissioner- General Augustine Chihuri, Prisons Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi, and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Director-General Happyton Bonyongwe.
Also sued are police Senior Assistant Commissioner Nyathi, Chief Superintendent Crispen Makendenge, Detective Chief Inspector Mpofu, Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi, Senior Assistant Commissioner Chiobvu of the Prison Services, Detective Chief Inspector Elliot Muchada, Superintendent Josh Shasha Tenderere, Assistant Inspector Mudandira, Superintendent Regis Takaitei Chitekwe, Detective Asssitant Inspector Maria Phiri, Detective Inspector Chibaya, Detective Muuya and Assistant Director of the External Branch of the CIO, Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi.
In one of the High Court summons, Mudzingwa is suing for his unlawful abduction and detention at Goromonzi Prison complex despite the fact that he had not appeared in court and was not on remand in respect of any charge.
Mudzingwa alleges that he was held incommunicado, being denied his basic human rights such as access to legal practitioners of his choice, access to medical practitioners of his choice, access to medication, access to family, friends and relatives, among other rights protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and other International Human Rights Instruments to which Zimbabwe is a party.
He further claims that he was “subjected to assaults, torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment at the hands of his captors, “who include and/or were acting in concert with or in connivance with one or more of the defendants, either directly or indirectly through their agents/subordinates”.
Mudzingwa raises concern over failure by the defendants to institute any prosecution against his alleged kidnappers, whom he claims are known.
He claims that while he was in “unlawful detention at all stages, he was denied the opportunity to participate in activities and perform the duties, which guarantee plaintiff with a means of livelihood”.
Another MDC-T activist, Mupfuranhewe –– who was allegedly abducted together with her minor child –– is suing for her alleged unlawful detention and denial of basic human rights.
She is claiming damages for the torture she went through when she was allegedly ordered into a tub of “very hot” water for failing to participate in a quiz.
Mupfuranhewe claims that she was burnt on her buttocks.
During her detention, she alleges, she was accused of spoiling the toilet and spent the whole day having ice cold water poured into her pants.
She also alleges that she was given rules regarding her child that he was only allowed to go to the toilet and was not to cry for food.
The MDC-T activists and Manyere are facing terrorism charges in the High Court.

BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA

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