Rogue police officers plead guilty to torturing woman

SOME Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers have pleaded guilty to torturing a Harare woman, whom they brutalised last year.

30 year-old Zororo Mazhawidza was left bleeding from her private parts
and nursing some injuries after she was severely assaulted and
tortured at Harare Central Police Station in the presence of her one
month-old baby by two ZRP officers identified as Constable Murwisi and
Constable Mandeya.

Mazhawidza was assaulted by Constable Murwisi and Constable Mandeya,
who arrested her on 10 March 2021 after accusing her of stealing a
Pre-paid Command Agriculture Fuel Card belonging to one Reginald and
converting the fuel for her own use, a charge which she denied and
told the ZRP officers that she was just simply holding onto the
pre-paid fuel card as lien to secure payment of her US$1 100 which she
had advanced to Reginald.

The torture by Constable Murwisi and Constable Mandeya, Mazhawidza
said, entailed placing a wooden plank behind her knees and lifting her
in the air such that her head was upside down before they started
assaulting her with truncheons just below her backsides which resulted
in her defecating and urinated on herself.

The assault and torture only stopped after Mazhawidza produced the
pre-paid fuel card.

After the torture, Constable Murwisi and Constable Mandeya ordered her
to clean up her faeces and to dispose of it.

Later on, Mazhawidza was released without any charge preferred against her.

After being dismayed by the dehumanising treatment at the hands of the
ZRP officers, Mazhawidza engaged Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, who sued both Constable Murwisi and
Constable Mandeya in their personal capacity together with Home
Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Hon. Kazembe Kazembe and ZRP
Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga for ZWL900 000 in damages arising
from the torture.

Out of the ZWL900 000, Mazhawidza wants Constable Murwisi, Constable
Mandeya, Hon. Kazembe and Matanga, to pay her ZWL300 000 as damages
for pain and suffering, ZWL300 000 for unlawful arrest and detention
and ZWL300 000 for embarrassment, humiliation, affront to dignity and
contumelia.

In response to Mazhawidza’s summons, Constable Murwisi, Constable
Mandeya, Hon. Kazembe and Matanga, who are represented by Luckson
Muradzikwa of the Attorney General’s Office wrote to Chinopfukutwa
telling the human rights lawyer that his clients were not disputing
liability and sought to settle the matter out of court as there is no
plausible defence on the merits of the case.

Muradzikwa told Chinopfukutwa that his clients wants the damages claim
of ZWL900 000 to be revised downwards.

However, Chinopfukutwa insisted that the damages sought are justified
due to the circumstances of the case and Constable Murwisi, Constable
Mandeya, Hon. Kazembe and Matanga should pay the full amount.

Judgment on the matter is pending before the Harare Magistrate Court.

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