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Chihuri, ministers sued for police brutality

A MT Hampden woman is suing Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and cabinet ministers for close to US$4 million as damages for the torture she says she suffered at the hands of one of his officers.

The case brings to the fore growing cases of police brutality.
Shamiso Nziramasanga of Katosvora farm is suing the police and the co-Ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone for severe pain, suffering and discomfort after being assaulted by a policeman who allegedly forced her to admit to theft charges last year. Nziramasanga claims the torture happened at Mt Hampden police station.
Nziramasanga’s case comes when High Court judge president George Chiweshe will on Monday hear a case against four cabinet ministers sued by Mapfumo Garutsa, a victim of state agents’ abduction and enforced disappearance in 2008.
In papers filed with the High Court, Nziramasanga said so severe was the torture that it affected her then four-month pregnancy.
Nziramasanga says she handed herself over to the police after hearing that  some officers were hunting her down on July 18  last year, and was shocked and traumatised by the torment she received from one Constable Bako, whom she cites as the third defendant.
“Third defendant (Bako) advised plaintiff (Nziramasanga) that he wanted to assault her to make her confess. Plaintiff then expressly advised third defendant that she was four months pregnant and that any assault he perpetrated upon her risked harming her unborn child,” reads Nziramasanga’s affidavit.
“Third defendant nevertheless proceeded to assault plaintiff under her feet and all over her body. He further assaulted her on her womb. Third defendant then detained plaintiff for several hours before ordering her to go home and come back the following day.”
Nziramasanga, who is represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, claimed that Bako threatened further harm if she sought medical treatment.
“Plaintiff initially complied out of fear but was in such pain that a few days later she went to a clinic from where she was referred to Parirenyatwa Hospital where she eventually received treatment,” read the court papers.
“Plaintiff was in pain from the date of the third defendant’s assault upon her through to her giving birth. On November 16 2009 plaintiff gave birth to a son who was in a very weak condition due to the fact that plaintiff had suffered injury to her womb as a result of the third defendant’s assault upon her. The child passed away on the 17th of November 2009. Plaintiff’s womb was in such a serious condition that it had to be removed and she can no longer bear children.”
According to a medical report by a doctor indentified in court papers only as Magwali of Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital, Nziramasanga was admitted at the hospital on November 14 2009.
“Physical examination revealed signs of a ruptured uterus. She was not in labour at the time of admission. She underwent an operation on the evening of 14 November 2009 at which the uterus was found to be ruptured and the baby was dead. It was not possible to repair the uterus so an operation to remove the uterus was done,” said Magwali.
Nziramasanga is claiming US$2 million for pain and suffering, US$1 million for injuries she suffered  due to the assault by Bako, payment of US$500 000 for unlawful unrest and detention, US$65 for medical expenses  and US$5 000 for property and cash taken by Bako.

Wongai Zhangazha

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