Zimbabwean Poet Awarded $1.7 Million for Brutal Assault by Police Officers
Obert Dube, a renowned poet and author, has been awarded ZWL$1.7 million in compensation by a Zimbabwean court after being brutally assaulted by five police officers and high-ranking officials. The incident occurred in January 2021 in the popular resort town of Victoria Falls, where Dube was allegedly violating a government-imposed curfew intended to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Assault and Violation of Rights
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who represented Dube in court, stated that the poet was assaulted using truncheons, open palms, and booted feet. The court ruled that the officers violated Dube’s rights and that the assault caused him physical and emotional pain, leading to medical expenses and “delictual damages.”
The five officers involved in the attack were identified as Constable Munashe Chikoto, Constable Samson Moyo, Constable Njabulo Ngwenya, Constable Nkosilathi Moyo, and Constable Shelton Mathe. Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe were also ordered by the court to pay the compensation.
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Victoria Falls Magistrate Godswill Mavenge ordered the officers and officials to pay the compensation within 90 days. The damages include medical expenses incurred by Dube, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. In response to the ruling, Dube expressed his trauma and ongoing fear of the police, particularly after an incident in which armed officers raided his home with dogs, traumatizing his children.
“I was traumatized by police officers and they still continue victimising me. On 27 December armed police officers with dogs raided my home around 1am. I wasn’t there and when I called them I didn’t get a clear answer.
“My kids are traumatized and don’t feel comfortable when they see a police officer they run away. I don’t know how that will be solved. That money (awarded by the court) won’t make my kids feel comfortable at all. It was better if the court offered counselling to my kids who are very young.”
Matanga and Kazembe Kazembe were not available for comment on the ruling, as they did not respond to calls on their mobile phones.