Harare Magistrate Lazini Ncube has ordered two ministers and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to pay ZWL$3 million to Zakeo Mutimutema, a victim of brutal army shootings, as compensation for damages caused to his eyes when soldiers fired bullets to suppress anti-government protests in August 2018.
Represented by Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Mutimutema, who in 2018 worked for Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, sued Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, and ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, after some glass particles got into his eyes when armed soldiers shot at a building housing his offices on 1 August 2018 while dispersing protesting citizens. Mutimutema had initially been awarded ZWL$295 000 as damages in November 2020, which Hon. Muchinguri, Hon. Kazembe and Matanga had reneged on paying.
This compelled Shava in 2021 to file an application seeking to amend Mutimutema’s summons arguing that the compensation award had been significantly eroded by inflation.
In response, Magistrate Ncube ordered Muchinguri, Kazembe, and Matanga to pay ZWL3 million to Mutimutema. Of the ZWL3 million, ZWL2 million will cover current and future medical expenses to be incurred by Mutimutema, ZWL500 000 is for pain and suffering while ZWL500 000 will cater for general damages.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has over the years reneged on compensating victims of army brutality such as Mutimutema, Lovejoy Munesi, Tapiwa Tshuma, and Rossie Munetsi, the wife of Peter Munetsi, who was murdered during the November 2017 coup, which ushered him to power.
A Commission of Inquiry chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and appointed by President Mnangagwa to probe the post-July 2018 election violence that left at least six people dead after they were shot by soldiers, recommended that government should compensate all the victims of the shootings and prosecute all perpetrators.
But four years on, no known victims or families have been compensated and there has been no prosecution of the perpetrators.