Police Officers Convicted, Punished For Brutal Assault

By Professor Matodzi

 

HARARE, October 28, 2015 – A Zimbabwean court has convicted and
sentenced two Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers for brutally
assaulting a Harare man who suffered permanent disability from the
battering.
Mbare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje on Tuesday fined two police
officers Detective Sergeant Tirivangani Madhimba and Detective
Constable Persuade Chikwana $100 each after he convicted them last
Thursday for committing common assault.
Mambanje said should Madhimba and Chikwana fail to pay the fine by
mid-November the ZRP officers will serve a prison sentence for 20
days.
Nsingo, who operated a vehicle repairs facility in Harare was tortured
and brutally assaulted by Madhimba and Chikwana in May 2012 at
Waterfalls Police Station after they arrested him when he visited the
police station in a bid to rescue some of his workers who had been
wrongly arrested and detained. The police officers also sought to
extract confessions from him and force him to pay a bribe and
compensation to a friend of the police officers.
As a result of the torture and assault meted on him wherein police
officers bludgeoned him with truncheons and sjamboks, Nsingo suffered
multiple permanent injuries and is now walking with the aid of
clutches.
But last Thursday, Mambanje convicted Madhimba and Chikwana of
committing common assault though Nsingo had reported the police
officers for torturing him.
On Tuesday, Mambanje fined the two police officers $100 each after
convicting them for committing common assault.
Criminal proceedings against Madhimba and Chikwana were only
instituted after the country’s leading legal defence group, the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) pursued the case against the
ZRP duo to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice as a
part of the organisation’s anti-impunity campaign.
Nsingo’s case which took three years before his tormentors were
brought to court for trial highlights the arduous journey endured by
many people at the hands of police officers and other law enforcement
agents, who are only brought to book after the intervention of
organisations such as ZLHR.
Assault and torture of suspects and detainees by ZRP officers and
state security operatives is rampant in Zimbabwe, with gross impunity
acting as a driver for law enforcement agents to continue tormenting
innocent citizens.
In 2009, the Supreme Court ordered a permanent stay of criminal
proceedings against prominent human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko
after ruling that she was subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading
treatment when she was abducted and held incommunicado by state
security agents in 2008 for allegedly plotting to topple President
Robert Mugabe’s government, a charge which she denied.
Despite the adaptation of a progressive Constitution in 2013, which
now outlaws torture and inhuman and degrading treatment of citizens,
human and political rights activists are still subjected to cruel
treatment and ZLHR has in recent years been assisting them for
damages.