Zimbabwe Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe.

A Zimbabwean woman has filed a $8.5 million lawsuit against Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga after her husband died in police custody last year.

In her application at the High court, Catherine Wazvaremhaka together with her three daughters Faith, Nokutenda and Nyasha Marangwanda have cited Matanga, Kazembe, detective constable Hurukawa, detective chief inspector Mapepeta and the officer in charge of the CID Police Station in Bindura as the respondents. 

Wazvaremhaka claimed that her late husband, Eugene Marangwanda, was arrested in September 2020 in connection with a suspected murder case and taken to Bindura where a magistrate had granted the police’s request for a warrant for further detention. 

Two days later, a police officer at the Bindura Central Police Station called Eugene’s elder brother Dzidzo and informed of his death. 

“Dzidzo subsequently received a phone call from assistant inspector Ganye, who advised him that his brother, the late Eugene, had collapsed and died in police custody on September 20, 2020. 

“The body…was taken for a post mortem at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals on September 29, 2020. The first, second, third and fourth applicants only managed to gain access to the post mortem report on or about December 2, 2020,” reads the lawsuit. 

Wazvaremhaka is now accusing the police officers in Bindura of assaulting her husband and causing his death. 

Police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga.

“According to the post mortem report, the deceased’s shirt was stained with blood, there were abrasions all over the deceased body and other serious injuries… 

“The post mortem report concluded that the cause of death was due to severe stress due to multiple body trauma, cardio respiratory failure and respiratory insufficiency. 

“The conduct of the first (Matanga) and second (Kazembe) defendant’s employees, including the third and fourth defendant, negligently caused the death of Eugene in that Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers assaulted the deceased when it was reasonably foreseeable that death would eventuate from the assaults,” the lawsuit further states. 

She is demanding that the defendants pay her and her daughters $8.5 million for the loss of support as her husband was the breadwinner and sole financial supporter of the family. 

“The conduct by the ZRP officers in question is the sole cause of damages suffered by plaintiffs, in that had it not been for the acts and omissions of the said ZRP officers, Eugene would not have died. 

“As a result of the unlawful killing of Eugene, first plaintiff suffered damages in the amount of $3 000 000, second plaintiff (Faith); $1.5 million, third plaintiff (Nokutenda); $1.5 million and fourth plaintiff (Nyasha); $2 million being in damages for loss of support,” reads Wazvaremhaka lawsuit. 

Matanga, Kazembe, Hurukawa and Mapepeta are yet to file their responding papers to the lawsuit. – Daily News