HARARE – Journalist Edmund Kudzayi is suing Home Affairs and Defence ministers for $500,000 as compensation for his unlawful arrest over possession of a camouflage umbrella.
The former Sunday Mail editor, through his lawyers, says that his arrest on February 22 this year, caused him great embarrassment and suffering.
Kudzayi was acquitted at the close of the State’s case after prosecutors failed to prove an offence had been committed.
The presiding magistrate, Victoria Mashamba, had no kind words against the State when she freed him.
Police and prosecutors used a law that prohibits the wearing of camouflage uniform to charge Kudzayi.
“I agree with the defence that an umbrella is not wearable. The law is clear on what constitutes camouflage uniform. An umbrella is not listed,” the magistrate said as she discharged the journalist.
In the lawsuit filed this week, Kudzayi cited Home Affairs Minister Cain Matema; the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Godwin Matanga and the Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces (CDFZ) General Valerio Sibanda in their official capacities as respondents.
“Plaintiff (Kudzayi) was detained in police cells whose conditions exposed him to inhuman and degrading treatment. During the time of his unlawful arrest, detention and subsequent prosecution, plaintiff was unable to go to work and lost business opportunities,” Kudzayi’s lawyers said.
He also said at all material times the officers who arrested him were acting within their scope and course of employment.
“As a result of the foregoing, plaintiff suffered loss in the sum of $500,000,” the lawyers said in the claim which contains a breakdown of the whole amount which includes compensation for unlawful arrest, detention, pain, shock and suffering, malicious prosecution, loss of business opportunities, contumelia and cost of suit.
Kudzayi was arrested at a security roadblock along Domboshava road near Winchdon Shops, Borrowdale, by Constable Chitana and Corporal Francis Murehwa.
The police and soldiers were carrying out a joint “stop and search” operation on motorists.
Kudzayi was immediately charged with having been found in possession of articles with military style camouflage markings under Section 32 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which criminalises unlawful possession and wearing of “any camouflage uniform.” The Act defines camouflage uniform as “any article of wearing apparel made of material carrying military-style camouflage markings.”
Source: Zim Live