GRACE MUGABE’S VICTIMS WIN COMPENSATION CASE AGAINST TORMENTORS

A ZIMBABWEAN court has ordered Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to pay more than $30 000 as compensation to some villagers, whose property and homesteads were demolished during forced evictions instigated by the country’s former First Lady Grace Mugabe in 2015.

Obert Mpofu

 

In January 2015, ZRP officers raided and demolished the Mazowe
villagers’ homesteads at Manzou Farm, in Mazowe District in
Mashonaland Central province, where they resided without obtaining a
court order to justify the forced evictions. During the forced
evictions, the ZRP officers destroyed homesteads, household furniture
and the villagers’ crop produce including maize grain and groundnuts.

This prompted the villagers, who sought the services of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to petition the Bindura Magistrates
Court seeking various orders for payment of damages for the
destruction of their homesteads and property.

In summons filed in 2015 at Bindura Magistrates Courts, the villagers
argued that in destroying their homesteads and evicting them, the ZRP
officers violated their fundamental rights including their right to
property, guaranteed under section 71 of the Constitution and their
right to freedom from arbitrary eviction provided under Section 74 of
the Constitution.

The malicious damage to their property, the villagers also argued, was
in violation Section 219 of the Constitution, which provides that the
country’s Police Service is responsible for protecting and securing
the lives and property of people and upholding the Constitution.

The villagers, who were represented by Noble Chinhanu of ZLHR, also
argued that together with their children, they suffered great
humiliation, shock, trauma as a result of the destruction of their
homesteads and property and endured emotional suffering and physical
hardship after being rendered homeless and at the mercy of the
elements.

This week, judicial officers at Bindura Magistrates Court started
handing down judgments in favour of the Mazowe villagers, who sued
Mpofu, Matanga and six ZRP officers namely Inspector Munetsi,
Constable Simbanegavi, Constable Machekecha, Constable Mataruse,
Constable Ngunda and Constable Mapuranga, all based at Mazowe Police
Station, who were part of the ZRP contingent, which tormented the
Manzou Farm dwellers.

Some of the villagers, who have already been granted judgments of
varying amounts in their favour include Leonard Mukoore, King Makosa,
Esther Mushukuti, Alec Kamonera, Jona Zomba, Jerina Tope, Stella
Mucharehwa, Elizabeth Mutsau, Media Kapfumba, Ranganai Chibundu,
Yeukai Dube, Chipo Fote, Tapiwa Dhaisi and Pearson Matema.

Judgments for the other remaining villagers will be handed down this month.

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