Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe and a police officer only identified as Mabika have been ordered by the court to pay ZWL$800 000 to a Mbare resident who was arrested by the police in 2021.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Tinashe Maumbe (24), a resident of Mbare, was arrested together with his friends Reward Majoni and Tinashe Majoni by ZRP officers on 16 January 2021.
The trio was walking past Matapi Police Station in Harare’s Mbare high-density suburb when the law enforcement agents manning the entrance to the police station enquired where the trio was going.
The ZRP officers allegedly accused Maumbe and his friends of being homosexuals and told them that homosexuality is not permitted in Zimbabwe.
The trio was subsequently detained by the police and no charges were preferred against them. In fact, they were jeered by cops and were only released after ZLHR lawyers intervened.
With the help of Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR, Maumbe sued Matanga, Kazembe and Mabika by filing a summons in April 2021 at Harare Civil Magistrates Courts.
Maumbe demanded payment amounting to ZWL$900 000 as damages for unlawful arrest, detention, humiliation and embarrassment. Said ZLHR:
On 4 November 2022 and after presiding over the trial of Hon. Kazembe, Matanga and Mabika, Harare Magistrate Ayanda Dhlamini granted judgment in favour of Maumbe and ordered Matanga, Kazembe and Mabika to pay him ZWL800 000 as compensation for violation of his rights after ruling that ZRP officers had “hysterically” arrested the 24-year-old Mbare resident based on their personal opinion of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, queer and questioning people.
Out of the ZWL800 000, ZWL$400 000 is for damages for unlawful arrest and detention while ZWL$400 000 is compensation for inhuman and degrading treatment.
Magistrate Dhlamini further ruled that the police officers, who arrested Maumbe, were not even aware of the COVID-19 provisions, which they purported to have cited upon apprehending him.
The Magistrate concluded that Maumbe’s arrest and detention was unlawful and that the police officers had jeered at him and insulted him for allegedly being a homosexual and by so doing, violated his right to human dignity guaranteed in terms of provisions of section 51 of the Constitution.