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Journalist seeks $500k compensation following unlawful detention

Former Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzai has approached the High Court seeking a $500 000 compensation following his arrest and detention by the Zimbabwe Republic Police on allegations of unlawfully possessing an umbrella which resembled camouflaged military uniform in February this year.

According to court papers, Kudzai cited Home Affairs Minister, Cain Matema, Minister of Defence and War Veterans, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, 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 in the matter.

The cited top government officials are yet to respond to the litigation.

“Plaintiff (Kudzai) 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,” Kudzai said through his lawyers.

He also said at all material times, Chitana and Murehwa were acting within their scope and course of employment with the ZRP and ZNA respectively when they so arrested and detained him for prosecution.

“As a result of the foregoing, plaintiff suffered loss in the sum of $500 000,” he said giving a break-down 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.

Kudzai was on February 22, 2019 arrested at a security roadblock along Domboshava road near Winchdon Shops, Borrowdale by Constable Chitana and Corporal Francis Murehwa as police and military officers were carrying out a joint “stop and search” operation on motorists.

Kudzai was immediately charged with having been found in possession of articles with military style camouflage markings but was later released on $100 bail by a Harare magistrate.

However, when his trial commenced on March 26, 2019 at the Harare Magistrates Court, he was found not guilty and acquitted.

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