ZANU PF officials ordered to compensate torture victim

A torture victim from 2008

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
01 May 2014

The High Court has ordered two ZANU PF officials to compensate an MDC activist whom they abducted and handed over to thugs who eventually tortured him six years ago.

Nyasha Gutsire was awarded $3,000 in compensation for the pain he suffered at the hands of Inyanga ZANU PF officials during the 2008 elections. The late Justice Karwi found both Matthew Nyamakanga and Nicholas Matsivira guilty of abducting Gutsire and handing him over to thugs at whose hands he suffered his fate.

In a statement the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said the matter was concluded in 2011 but the judgment was received late last month, two years after the death of Justice Karwi.

Nyamakanga and Matsivira, both ZANU PF officials, abducted their victim in June 2008 and handed him over to thugs at the Nyanga Community Hall in Nyamhuka Business Center. Gutsire was then assaulted with logs and suffered injuries to his feet and eyes which persist to this day. He was also forced to sit very close to a fire, which aggravated his pain and injuries.

The court found that while the two accused were not directly involved in the assault ‘they shared that common design’ with the thugs who committed the actual crime. The court also noted that the crime occurred at the height of political violence during which ZANU PF activists were routinely ‘subjecting members of the opposition to the type of treatment meted’ on Gutsire.

Gutsire’s case represents many victims who suffered brutal torture at the hands of ZANU PF during the 2008 election. Human rights groups estimate that hundreds of people were killed and tens of thousands were tortured during that period. According to the court ruling it was the time when ZANU PF activists ‘thought it was their duty to ill-treat members of the opposition the way the way they did.’

Most of the victims were committed MDC-T activists who believed that their party would deliver both the victory and justice. To this date neither justice nor political freedom has been attained. Instead the opposition is diminishing owing to the factional infighting spurred on by personal egos and what observers see as clashes over funds.

Meanwhile nine Masvingo residents, who were arrested this week on allegations of inciting violence, were Wednesday charged of contravening section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act).

The nine were part of a group of residents who tried to gather at the Masvingo City Council to raise their concerns over many issues including the trading levies of $2 per day paid by informal market traders. They were arrested as they marched to the council offices on Tuesday and accused of participating in an ‘unsanctioned’ gathering.

Lawyer Phillip Shumba, told SW Radio Africa that the nine were released after signing warned and cautioned statements. Shumba said the police have indicated that they will send the docket to court for assessment by the prosecution authority on whether to proceed to trial or not.



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