A Zimbabwe man is suing one of the country’s leading retailers for damages amounting to US$5 000 as compensation for malicious arrest, detention and prosecution, after he was recently acquitted at Harare Magistrates Court, where he stood trial on charges of disorderly conduct following his arrest by a malevolent employee of the retail giant, who unsuccessfully tried to block him from purchasing some goods.
In April 2023, Stanford Nyamukoroso, an employee of TM Pick n Pay Zimbabwe, approached Farai Chakawa, who resides in the resort town of Victoria Falls in Matabeleland North province, who was visiting in Harare and who intended to buy a bottle of whisky and a soft drink at TM Pick n Pay Joina City retail shop in the capital city, and told him that he was not allowed inside the retail supermarket.
Chakawa queried why he was not being allowed in the retail outlet and Nyamukoroso told him that this was because he had arbitrarily decided to just do so.
A cashier at the liquor store counter, located within TM Pick n Pay Zimbabwe Joina City retail shop, pleaded with Nyamukoroso to let Chakawa buy what he wanted and he eventually bought a soft drink and his bottle of whisky.
As Chakawa was leaving the counter, Nyamukoroso grabbed him by the waist holding him by his belt and pulled him into a private room, where he handcuffed him and subsequently advised him that he was going to be detained in some Zimbabwe Republic Police cells that day because he had purchased goods in a TM Pick n Pay Zimbabwe retail outlet against his will.
Nyamukoroso then took Chakawa to Harare Central Police Station, where he was charged with disorderly conduct and asked to pay a fine for disorderly conduct. Chakawa declined to pay the fine and protested that he had not committed any offence.
He was detained at Harare Central Police Station for two days before being taken to Harare Magistrates Court answering to charges of disorderly conduct.
However, in May 2023, Chakawa was acquitted of the charges of disorderly conduct.
Now, the Victoria Falls resident has enlisted the services of Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who on Tuesday 18 July 2023 wrote a letter of demand to TM Pick n Pay Zimbabwe, protesting against the conduct of its employee and demanding compensation amounting to US$5 000 for malicious arrest, detention and prosecution.
Chinopfukutwa protested that at the time Nyamukoroso handcuffed Chakawa and instigated the criminal complaint against him, there was no probable cause that he had committed the offence of disorderly conduct as he was merely a customer seeking to purchase products from the retail outlet.
The human rights lawyer faulted Nyamukoroso for acting with premeditated malice in setting into motion the arrest and subsequent prosecution of Chakawa.
Chinopfukutwa said since Nyamukoroso was acting within the scope and course of his employment with TM Pick n Pay Zimbabwe, the retailer is vicariously liable to compensate Chakawa for the damages that he suffered as a result of the employee’s unlawful actions.
The human rights lawyer said failure to comply with his demand will leave him with no option but to proceed to institute legal proceedings against TM Pick n Pay Zimbabwe, ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe and the National Prosecuting Authority.