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Zimbabwe Chief Justice Malaba Swears in 9 High Court Judges

Chief Justice Luke Malaba

Chief Justice Luke Malaba today swore-in nine new judges of the High Court, bringing to 43 the total number of judges in the High Court.

Of the nine, two are women and one is blind. The Judicial Service Commission says the appointment of the judges will reduce the backlog of cases in the High Court.

Meanwhile, the High Court has ordered Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, and Commissioner-General of Zimbabwe Republic Police, Godwin Matanga, to pay Linda Musiyamhanje US$12,000 as damages for violation of her fundamental rights when she was unlawfully arrested, detained and prosecuted 10 years ago for allegedly murdering a police officer.

High Court Judge, Justice Jacob Manzunzu, ordered Hon. Kazembe and Matanga to pay Musiyamhanje US$12,000 as damages for unlawful arrest, unlawful detention, malicious prosecution, pain and suffering and loss of income after the opposition MDC party supporter was apprehended and charged together with 28 other Harare residents with murdering Inspector Petros Mutedza, as defined in Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, and in the alternative with public violence as defined in section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

However, Musiyamhanje was found not guilty by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu in 2013 and was acquitted at the close of the prosecution case.

According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), this prompted Musiyamhanje, who was represented by its attorneys, Jeremiah Bamu and Fiona Iliff and Rutendo Muchenje of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, to sue Kazembe and Matanga for damages after she spent 11 months in prison in 2011 on charges of murdering Inspector Mutedza.

In summons filed at the High Court, Musiyamhanje argued that upon arrest, she was detained in cruel and inhuman conditions and was assaulted by police officers, who did not bother to verify her alibi.

She also argued that she had lost income as a result of the arrest and lengthy detention at Chikurubi Female Prison.

Justice Manzunzu ordered Hon. Kazembe and Matanga to pay Musiyamhanje US$12,000 payable at the prevailing official Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe exchange rate in full as compensation for the violation of her fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

VOA Zimbabwe correspondent Godwin Mangudya contributed to this article