By Kumbirai Mafunda
MDC-Alliance party youth leader Godfrey Kurauone has slapped President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and other accomplices with an RTGS$2.4 million lawsuit over his unlawful arrest, detention, and malicious prosecution which resulted in him spending more than 40 days in prison before he was acquitted.
Kurauone, who serves as the National Organising Secretary for the MDC Alliance party’s Youth Assembly and also as Masvingo Urban Ward 4 Councillor, endured horror when he was imprisoned at Masvingo Remand Prison after he was arrested on 31 July 2020 and charged with obstructing the free movement of traffic during an anti-government protest to demonstrate against rampant corruption.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers who arrested Kurauone charged him with obstructing or endangering the free movement of persons or traffic as defined in Section 38(c) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Following his arrest in July, Kurauone was denied bail at Masvingo Magistrates Court and at Masvingo High Court and only stood trial which commenced early in September.
During his trial at Masvingo Magistrates Court, prosecutors alleged that Kurauone blocked roads by putting stones and burnt tyres along the Gaths Mine to Chirumanzu road for a stretch of 500 metres on 31 July.
Kurauone had also been charged with criminal nuisance as defined in section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly circulating a video on WhatsApp on 20 July showing him singing a song with lyrics which authorities deemed derogatory to President Mnangagwa.
But prosecutors later withdrew the criminal nuisance charge and prosecuted him over the charge of obstruction of free movement of persons and traffic.
However, Magistrate Patience Madondo on 10 September 2020 acquitted Kurauone after his lawyer Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights applied for discharge at the close of the prosecution case thereby ending his prison ordeal.
In his notice of intention to sue, Kurauone charged that his arrest by ZRP officers and prosecution by representatives of Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi was motivated by malice and improper motives.
The opposition party youth leader cited Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe, ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Prosecutor-General Hodzi, Detective Constable Muonde, who arrested him, and the Officer In Charge at Masvingo Central Police Station as respondents whom he asked to take appropriate action in paying him RTGS$2.4 million as compensation for gross violation of his rights.
Out of the RTGS$2.4 million that he is demanding, RTGS$500 000 is for damages for unlawful and wrongful arrest, RTGS$800 000 for unlawful and wrongful detention, RTGS$800 000 for malicious prosecution and RTGS$300 000 for legal expenses incurred defending himself against the malicious allegations levelled against him.