The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has notified the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) of its intention to sue for damages on behalf of Pamela Muchazorwewa.
Muchazorwewa was seriously wounded by a stray bullet when police officers were involved in a shootout with a suspected armed robber in Chitungwiza last month.
In a statement, ZLHR said Muchazorwewa suffered as a result of her unlawful and negligent shooting on 27 June. Said ZLHR:
We told [ZRP] that the use of guns in the circumstances constitutes a disproportionate use of force which unnecessarily endangered the lives of members of the public.
Our lawyer [Tinashe Chinox] said the wanton and excessive use of force by [ZRP] in this matter is clearly unjustifiable and unlawful.
Chinopfukutwa said ZRP’s actions constitute gross human rights violations in terms of the Constitution and international law, particularly the right to human dignity, the right to personal security and the right not to be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (section 53).
Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed on 28 June that Muchazorwei and Tashinga Mugwara were shot at Taita Shops as detectives exchanged fire with the suspect, only identified as Denis Madondo. Asst Comm Nyathi said:
The Zimbabwe Republic Police is investigating an unfortunate incident that occurred at Taita Shops in Chitungwiza on 27th June 2022 at around 1600 hours, where Police had a shoot-out with a robbery suspect only identified as Denis Madondo.
Police received a tip-off and located the suspect at Taita Shops. The suspect noticed detectives approaching and drew an Airgun pistol from his jacket before pointing it to the detectives. In response, the detectives fired a warning shot into the air and later shot towards the suspect and missed him.
The suspect dropped the pistol and fled into the bushes where he got into an unregistered red Honda Fit vehicle and drove off towards Chitungwiza-Hwedza Road.
After about an hour, it emerged that the bullet which missed the suspect had hit Tashinga Mugwara and Pamela Muchazorwei.
The two victims sustained serious injuries and are currently admitted at Chitungwiza Hospital and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals respectively.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police deeply regrets the unfortunate shooting of the two and urges the public to quickly move away from crime scenes especially when armed robbers are confronting Police officers.
The Police will not rest until all robbery suspects are brought to book and the law takes its course.
Above all, criminals are warned against resisting arrest and firing at Police officers, as an appropriate measure of force will be retained.