Zimbabwe: Mtetwa Says Police Should Be Sued for Deliberate Rights Abuses

By Robert Tapfumaneyi
Top human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa says police officers who take the law into their hands through visiting forms of brutalities on suspects or turn some incidents into political cases, must be sued for the transgressions.

Mtetwa said this was the only way to clean the country’s justice delivery system which is littered with elements who often overstep their mandates either for personal reasons or while taking orders from other quarters with ulterior motives.

Speaking at a press conference convened on behalf of MDC activists Tungamirai Madzokere and Last Maengahama who were released Friday by the Supreme Court after spending 8 years in prison on false murder convictions, Mtetwa said taxpayers should be exempted from paying for damages.

“Certainly, we will be suing on the basis of their urgency, but I think there is room for individual liability I feel very strongly for it for instance that someone like Nyararai (Inspector Masunda) who lied through his teeth that really the tax paying public should be paying damages on his behalf,” Mtetwa said Monday.

“Why should he not be personally liable for lying in court for whatever personal reasons if he was put up to it, let him then go and claim those damages from those other people… ”

She added, “It is the only way we can clean our justice system where people know that if I break Tunga’s wrist, I will be personally liable for that assault.”

Inspector Spencer Masunda who was stationed at Glenview Police station falsely accused the MDC activists during trial that they had a hand in the gang murder on police Inspector Petros Mutedza back in 2011.

When he got arrested, Madzokere was left on a plaster following a brutal assault that broke his wrist by police.

“They beat him up to such an extent that they fractured a bone on his arm,” Mtetwa told journalists.

“The court ordered that there be an investigation on that, but we all know that nothing came out of those investigations. We know that not even a single sentence was written by the trial judge to deal with that.

“My view is, where that happens, the courts should make it clear that when you assault suspects, you must face the criminal consequences of that.

“The time that these political activists spent in custody is a time that was unnecessary.

“The trial judge refused them bail on the basis that they had a strong case as the state had eye-witnesses, but during trial, the eyewitnesses disappeared and the inspector who had been claiming that they had eye-witnesses started talking about informers who had no names, no identities and were never called.

“So, it’s obvious that there never were any eye-witnesses in the first instance.

“These were just lies that the court was fed.”

Charles Kwaramba who was also part pf the defence team said, “Everybody who associated themselves with wrongdoing, those are avenues that obviously being talked about and would be pursued if they are feasible.

“But we wait to decide those in due course at the moment we are still allowing these gentlemen to relax with their families and thereafter, they can make decisions going forward as to what they recourse is in the matter.”

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