HARARE – A man who claims he was assaulted by soldiers on allegations of being an MDC supporter has filed a $2 500 lawsuit against Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Joseph Gonese revived the application last month after realising that the case had not been set down for hearing since the application was filed in 2008.
His lawyer Tafadzwa Christmas from Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum last Saturday wrote a letter to the registrar of the High Court pursuing the matter.
“The notice of set down for pre-trial conference in this matter was filed in September 2012 but we are yet to receive a set down date. We kindly request a set down date for the pre-trial conference in this matter,” said Christmas.
Gonese saw a Mitsubishi truck approaching in May 2008 and he waved his hand, signalling the car to stop after mistaking it for the chief’s official vehicle.
According to court papers, Gonese managed to identify a colonel Magumise from the Zimbabwe National Army and retired Zimbabwe Republic Police officer Makuto.
There was also a third person whom he failed to identify and at the back of the truck were six soldiers, according to Gonese.
Gonese told the court that the soldiers started accusing him of making gestures similar to the MDC party symbol.
Despite explaining that he was waving for the car to stop, Gonese said this did not stop Magumise from ordering the soldiers to assault him.
He said the soldiers ordered him to lie on the ground and they began assaulting him using sticks. They beat him on the legs and buttocks.
Gonese said as a result of the assault he suffered injuries and had to undergo medical treatment.
However, Mnangagwa in his response distanced himself from the allegations.
“At all times and during the relevant period, the defendant (Mnangagwa) never deployed members of the Zimbabwe National Army in any area to harass members of the public in any manner or in the manner described.
“The plaintiff (Gonese) is even unable to give details of where the harassment took place and how it was perpetrated,” said Mnangagwa.
He further said that if Gonese was attacked in the manner he alleges, then the soldiers were not acting within the scope of their employment, since their duty is to safeguard territorial integrity and not to assault members of the public. – Tendai Kamhungira