HOME Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi has been slapped with a $34 trillion lawsuit for the unlawful arrest and detention of MDC and civil society leaders who were on their way to a meeting organ
ised by Save Zimbabwe Campaign at Zimbabwe Grounds on March 11.
Mohadi is being sued in his official capacity as the Minister of Home Affairs together with Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. There are also 17 other defendants — all police officers — including the officer commanding police the Law and Order section Assistant Inspector Musarashana Mabunda, Supt Tavaziva and Chief Supt Taengwa, both from the law and order section. The three officers are being sued in their official as well as personal capacities.
Among the 62 people seeking compensation from the ministry are leaders of the two MDC factions Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, National Constitution Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku and Sekai Holland, a senior official in the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the MDC.
The opposition and civic society leaders had in August demanded $1, 2 trillion when they filed their notice of intention to sue but have reviewed the compensation fee to $34 trillion in the summons they filed to all the 19 defendants last week.
Alec Muchadehama of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni, who is representing Tsvangirai and company, said his clients had no choice but to review the damages claim because of inflation.
“We had to review our damages claim because the figure we had claimed has become too little because of inflation,” Muchadehama said.
In the fresh demands, the political and civil society leaders want $50 billion each for unlawful arrest, $100 billion each for unlawful deprivation of liberty, $200 billion each for assault, $60 billion each for loss of amenities of life, $100 billion each for contumelia, $50 billion for future medical expenses and $70 million for past medical expenses.
According to the summons, the 62 were arrested on their way to a meeting that had been arranged by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.
“Our clients advise us that on March 11 2007 they proceeded to or near a meeting which was to be held at the Zimbabwe Grounds, Highfield Harare. Before they got to the venue of the meeting they were arrested and taken to Machipisa Police Station,” read the summons.
Tsvangirai and company are saying they did not commit any crime by wanting to attend the prayer meeting.
“They had not committed any offence nor were they about to commit any offence warranting them to be arrested. The arrest was therefore unlawful. After the unlawful arrest our clients were taken to Machipisa Police Station. At Machipisa Police Station our clients were savagely assaulted and tortured by the police who were in the course and scope of their employment,” said the summons.
According to information on the summons, Tsvangirai and company sustained fractures on their limbs and other bodily cuts, bruises, blunt trauma and several other injuries as a result of the assaults.