MASVINGO - A one-year-old child, Precious Mapanzure, is among 35 Chingwizi villagers who are suing Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi and police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri for violating their rights while in police detention.
The villagers, who are being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights advocates Blessing Nyamaropa and Peggy Tavagadza, were arrested last year for resisting a government order to vacate the refugee camp. They are demanding $3 000 each in damages before a Chiredzi magistrate.One-year-old sues Mohadi, Chihuri FROM P1
Also among the villagers suing Mohadi and Chihuri is a 10-year-old boy, Prince Makore, who is further demanding damages for wounds he sustained after he was bitten by police dogs that were set on him.
The villagers say the police denied them, among other things, their right to food, water and health services during the time of their arrest and detention in police cells.
Their lawyers are further arguing that one-year-old Mapanzure, who was detained after her mother Ellen Mtetwa was arrested, was denied the right to basic healthcare.
Her lawyers say the infant developed a rash after she was forced to wear one diaper for more than 48 hours as policed denied her mother the opportunity to access fresh diapers for her.
The lawyers also add further that the infant’s mother also developed thrush while in detention and thus could not breast feed her.
ZLHR communications officer, Kumbirai Mafunda, confirmed the case yesterday and that it was taking place at Chiredzi Magistrate’s Court.
“Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri and the officer-in-charge of Triangle Police Station are being sued for violating fundamental rights of some Chingwizi Internally Displaced Persons, including the one-year-old Precious Mapanzure and 10-year-old Prince Makore,” Mafunda said.
The 35 villagers are among the more than 3 000 Chingwizi villagers who were arrested indiscriminately in August last year for resisting to move out of Chingwizi camp.
The villagers were demanding that the government compensates them for their controversial relocation after they lost property during their removal that was necessitated by the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam floods in January last year.
They were rounded up after the government unleashed police and soldiers on them, and were also assaulted in the process.