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Zimbabwe Court Makes Landmark Ruling on Police Lawsuits

  • Blessing  Zulu

Attorney Tendai Biti. (Photo: Mavis Gama)

Attorney Tendai Biti. (Photo: Mavis Gama)

In a landmark case, High Court judge Justice Amy Tsanga has ruled that Section 70 of the Police Act, which places a cap of a six-month period within which police should be sued, is inconsistent with the country’s supreme law.

Two Zimbabwean soldiers, Michael Munyika and Chrispen Tobaiwa, who were represented by Tendai Biti of Tendai Biti Law, argued that the section was discriminatory. Police shot the two after suspecting them to be robbers as they travelled in a truck along with others to Karoi from work.

Munyika lost a right hand finger and was also shot in the chest and the bullet remains lodged in his body. He is suing Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Damburai and Chibanda for about 383,000.

His colleague, Tobaiwa, who was shot in the leg, is demanding damages amounting to almost 573,000. The two notified the police of their intention to sue, but delayed serving papers as they were receiving treatment in a local hospital. The summons were only issued 11 months after the incident.

Attorney Tendai Biti, who represented the injured persons, said the ruling means that the filing of lawsuits against the police has no timeline.