By Silas Nkala
The family of a 20-year-old Silobela man, who was shot and killed by a police officer on March 15, have filed a notice of intention to sue the officer, Police Commissioner-General and the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage over the matter.
Through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) member Jabulani Mhlanga, the late Bhekani Moyo’s family filed the notice addressed to Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga.
“We advise that we have been instructed by the family of the deceased Bhekani to represent them in this matter. Our clients advised that on March 15 while they were sleeping at their residence at Moffat Moyo’s homestead, Bambanani village ward 21, Chief Malisa, Silobela, at around 4am, about six men, two of them wearing police uniforms and brandishing guns, raided their homestead,” ZLHR wrote.
“The police were looking for their son, … Bhekani … The police did not identify themselves or inform the family of the reasons why they were looking for the now-deceased, but went on harassing them, ransacking the homestead, entering all the rooms searching for the now-deceased.”
The men found Bhekani sleeping in one of the rooms, dragged him out before one of them, in police uniform, fatally shot him on the left side of the chest in the family’s presence, that is, his mother, father, siblings and young children, without just cause, ZLHR stated.
“After realising what they had done, they did not render any form of assistance or explanation to the family on why they had murdered their son in cold blood, but instead, ran away from the scene only to return two hours later in the company of other police officers using a marked police vehicle,” the notice read.
“Our client advises that the police officers took the now-deceased’s body using their vehicle on the strength that the body was being taken for a post-mortem, only to be returned the same day by officers from Silobela Police Station with promise that the circumstances leading to the demise of the son will be investigated.”
The human rights lawyers said the family stated that they buried their son with their meagre resources and their community’s help.
No assistance came from the police.
The police have allegedly reneged on the pledge to probe the matter, the family said, and have denied the family a copy of the deceased’s post-mortem report.
“Our client holds the position that the deceased died as a result of the injuries sustained after being shot by the police officer, who at the material time was acting within the scope and course of his employment as a police officer employed by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the command of the Commissioner-General of the Police Service.
“In the premise, we hold strict instruction to demand compensation to be quantified in due course as we, hereby, do, payment for harassment, emotional pain, trauma and suffering, payment for contumelia, funeral expenses, the payment as special damages and ancillary delictual damages suffered as a result of untimely death of Bhekani Moyo after he was shot by the police,” ZLHR wrote.
“We are under instruction from our client to institute legal proceedings against the individual concerned police officer, your office, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage for the unlawful conduct as explained.”
Matanga is yet to respond to the notice. News Day