Kurauone slaps govt with RTGS$2M lawsuit over unlawful arrest and lengthy prison detention

MDC-Alliance party youth leader Godfrey Kurauone has slapped President
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and other accomplices with a RTGS$2.4
million lawsuit over his unlawful arrest, detention and malicious
prosecution, which resulted in him spending more than 40 days in
prison before he was acquitted.

Kurauone, who serves as the National Organising Secretary for the
MDC-Alliance party’s Youth Assembly and also as Masvingo Urban Ward 4
Councillor, endured horror when he was imprisoned at Masvingo Remand
Prison after he was arrested on 31 July 2020 and charged with
obstructing the free movement of traffic during an anti-government
protest to demonstrate against rampant corruption.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers who arrested Kurauone charged
him with obstructing or endangering the free movement of persons or
traffic as defined in Section 38(c) of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act.

Following his arrest in July, Kurauone was denied bail at Masvingo
Magistrates Court and at Masvingo High Court and only stood trial
which commenced early in September.

During his trial at Masvingo Magistrates Court, prosecutors alleged
that Kurauone blocked roads by putting stones and burnt tyres along
Gaths Mine to Chirumanzu road for a stretch of 500 metres on 31 July.

Kurauone had also been charged with criminal nuisance as defined in
section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for
allegedly circulating a video on WhatsApp on 20 July showing him
singing a song with lyrics which authorities deemed derogatory to
President Mnangagwa.

But prosecutors later withdrew the criminal nuisance charge and
prosecuted him over the charge of obstruction of free movement of
persons and traffic.

However, Magistrate Patience Madondo on 10 September 2020 acquitted
Kurauone after his lawyer Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights applied for discharge at the close of the prosecution case
thereby ending his prison ordeal.

In his notice of intention to sue, Kurauone charged that his arrest by
ZRP officers and prosecution by representatives of Prosecutor-General
Kumbirai Hodzi was motivated by malice and improper motives.

The opposition party youth leader cited Home Affairs and Cultural
Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin
Matanga, Prosecutor-General Hodzi, Detective Constable Muonde, who
arrested him and the Officer In Charge at Masvingo Central Police
Station as respondents whom he asked to take appropriate action in
paying him RTGS$2.4 million as compensation for gross violation of his
rights.

Out of the RTGS$2.4 million that he is demanding, RTGS$500 000 is for
damages for unlawful and wrongful arrest, RTGS$800 000 for unlawful
and wrongful detention, RTGS$800 000 for malicious prosecution and
RTGS$300 000 for legal expenses incurred defending himself against the
malicious allegations levelled against him.