TWO Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers have landed in trouble after a Chivhu woman sued them for US$4 000 in damages arising from unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution during a government enforced national lockdown imposed two years ago in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The two ZRP officers Sergeant Pangwana and Godknows Tafadzwa Mutete, all based at Chivhu Police Station, were recently served with summons which were filed on 23 September 2022 at Chivhu Magistrates Court, wherein Chivhu resident, Enerty Chimedza, is demanding payment amounting to US$4 000 as damages for unlawful arrest and malicious
Out of the US$4 000, US$1000 is for damages for humiliation, embarrassment, affront to dignity and contumelia, US$2 000 as damages for unlawful and malicious arrest and US$1 000 as damages for malicious prosecution.
Apart from Pangwana and Mutete, Chimedza, who is represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, is also suing Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Hon. Kazembe Kazembe and ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga.
According to the 31-year-old Chimedza, Pangwana, who was handling a police dog while in the company of other ZRP officers, on 21 August 2021 and at Green Market, chased away people and released a police dog which bit her on her thigh and tore her clothes.
Pangwana and other ZRP officers accosted Chimedza to Chivhu Police Station, where they coerced her to pay an admission of guilty fine despite her protestations of innocence.
However, Chimedza challenged the confirmation of her acknowledgment of guilt fine and it was set aside by Chivhu Magistrate Henry Sande.
In retribution, Chimedza was charged afresh with contravening curfew regulations and summoned to appear at Chivhu Magistrates Court to answer to charges of violating curfew as defined in Section 26E(2)(a) of Statutory Instrument 200 of 2020 as read with Section 2 of
Statutory Instrument 214 of 2021.
On 9 May 2022, Chimedza was found not guilty and acquitted by Magistrate Sande, who ruled that she did not contravene any curfew conditions as alleged.
In the summons, Chimedza argued that she was maliciously arrested by Pangwana and Mutete and prosecuted as a cover-up for their negligence and excessive use of force in setting a police dog on her.