The five Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders, president, Lovemore Matombo, and other union leaders Percival Mcijo, Michael Kandukutu, Nawu Ndlovu and Dumisani Ncube were arrested last November in Victoria Falls for allegedly failing to comply with a provision in the Public Order and Security Act (POSA. The section requires one to notify the police about an intended public meeting.

The trade unionists have written a notice of intention to sue through their lawyer, Zvikomborero Chadambuka of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

They were freed after magistrate Richard Ramaboea refused to place them on remand when they were brought to court after spending five days in police cells.

In the notice of intention to sue, the five’s lawyer Chadambuka, said that they were subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment in police cells.

Each of the five unionists is claiming a total of US$1.1 million in damages, to be paid within two months from this month failing which the human rights lawyer will issue summons against Commissioner-General Chihuri.

They are each claiming US$500 000 for unlawful arrest and detention, US$500 000 for wrongful detention in conditions that amount to inhumane and degrading treatment and US$100 000 for the affront of the unionists’ dignity and violations of privacy.

The ZCTU, itself is demanding US$675 for accommodation expenses for four unionists who were booked at a Victoria Falls hotel, the hire of the City Hall from Bulawayo City Council and hire of a hall in Victoria Falls which was all lost due to the unlawful arrest and detention. 

This is not the first time that the police chief has been forced to face payback time. Last year abductees who spent more than three months in illegal detention launched lawsuits in the High Court seeking damages for the unlawful detention.