HARARE – Five police officers who brutally assaulted a civilian, gouging out his eye in the process, have been jailed for three years.
Livingstone Zvimba, Tendai Masungambira, Sunday Nyaude, Khululekani Dale, Evans Mashonganyika — all members of the Police Reaction Group — were convicted of assault by Harare magistrate Farai Gwitima.
They were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment before one year was suspended on condition of good behaviour.
“The court considered the amount of harm involved in that the complainant lost his right eye. Assault at the hands of the police who are supposed to be custodians of the law constitutes violation of the complainant’s rights,” Gwitima said.
“A sentence of community service or fine will trivialise the offence and can only be reserved for minor offences.”
The victim Washington Gezana narrated during the trial how his wife was labelled a prostitute by the police officers who slapped her before turning to him.
“On March 23 around 8pm I was walking with my wife Yvonne Magora heading towards east along Kenneth Kaunda and there were light showers. Upon arrival at the intersection I saw police officers in riot gear controlling traffic,” Gezana narrated.
“We then crossed the first lane of Julius Nyerere Way and stood on the island to cross the other lane which leads out of town.
“One of the cops approached us and asked why we were standing there and I responded that we were failing to cross the road.
“The police officer then slapped my wife and two more cops joined in the assault.
“I intervened and they turned to me and started assaulting me. One of them attacked me with an unknown object on my right eye and I fell down but they continued attacking me.”
Gezana blacked out after the assault and could no longer see anything as his left eye’s vision had also been affected.
“I could hear voices saying let’s leave this person he is badly injured.
“After a while I gained consciousness and cried for help but could not see anyone because my left eye had also been affected,” he said.
“A kombi driver called Mahara later ferried me to Harare Central Police and I requested to be treated at Parirenyatwa hospital where my wife works and they complied.”
The doctor who examined him said his eye had been damaged and lost fluid hence it had to be removed.