Zimbabwe: Sikhala in $1,5m Govt Suit Over Arrest, Says Slept in Urine Soaked Blankets

MDC Alliance deputy chair, Job Sikhala has filed a $1,5 million lawsuit against Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe, police and the prosecutor general over his arrest and prosecution last year.

Sikhala was accused of treason after he addressed a rally in Masvingo July last year in during which he declared the MDC was going to remove President Emmerson Mnangagwa before the 2023 elections.

He was arrested in his Harare base before he went through full trial in Masvingo.

The lawmaker was however acquitted early this year by the High Court.

In his summons, he cited Kazembe, Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi as first, second and third respondents, respectively.

Others cited as respondents include officers who arrested him and some he accused of terrorising him during his detention.

His lawyers said, “The plaintiff claims, which are issued against the defendants jointly and severally the one paying the other to be absolved are for payment in the sum of $200 000, being damages for unlawful and wrongful arrest; $300 000 for pain, shock and suffering and contumelia; $200 000 being damages for unlawful and wrongful detention; $300 000 special damages for loss of income; $200 000 for malicious prosecution and $300 000 for travel, accommodation, subsistence and legal expenses incurred by the plaintiff as a result of wrongful and unlawful conduct of the defendants plus interest and costs of suit”.

Further reads Sikhala’s court papers, “The claims are arising from the unlawful arrest and detention of the plaintiff on the 9th of July 2019 and malicious prosecution of the plaintiff, caused by the defendants acting in the course of and within the scope of their employment.

“On the 9th of July 2019, the plaintiff was arrested by the sixth defendant a policeman who was acting within the course and scope of his employment as a policeman under the command and overall supervision of first and second defendants.”

He was arrested at CID Law and Order Harare, having gone there in the company of his legal practitioners after being invited by the police.

According to Sikhala, the arrest was without warrant.

He was detained in police cells overnight at Harare Central police station.

Sikhala also said he was detained under inhumane and degrading conditions in which there were insufficient blankets to a point of spending the cold night without a blanket.

“There were no functional ablution facilities in the cells resulting in the entire place smelling of human excrement,” he said.

The MDC legislator also said there was no running water in the cells and no toilet paper was provided.

Sikhala was on July 10 sneaked away to Bikita Police station in Masvingo province without being afforded the opportunity to advise his legal practitioners who were also being denied access to him.

He said again at Bikita Police station, he was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment also during the journey to the police station.

“He was blindfolded and a hood placed over his head.

“He suffered verbal insults and threats from the police officers who were transporting him to Bikita Police Station,” his lawyers said.

“He was denied an opportunity to relieve himself despite a specific relief to answer the call of nature.”

Sikhala said when he was in remand prison, a mentally depraved prisoner was allowed access into his cell where he would relieve himself on his blankets.

“A letter was sent to prison authorities who are yet to respond,” said his lawyers.

Sikhala also said he was maliciously prosecuted before he was acquitted by the High court on February 14 this year.

He said he lost business during the time he was forced to attend court.

Also, as a member of the National Assembly, he was entitled to allowances from parliament based on his attendance, but he missed some sessions thereby losing the allowances.

“Cumulatively, plaintiff has lost income in the sum of $300 0000 which is due and payable to him from the defendants, jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved,” wrote his lawyers Mbizo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal practitioners .

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