THE battering and subsequent arrest of human rights lawyer Kudzai Kadzere sent shockwaves accross the legal fraternity, but the youthful lawyer is undeterred.
Kadzere was viciously beaten up by police officers at Budiriro Police Station when he went there to represent 25 Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) activists who had been arrested for holding a meeting. Those arrested include legislators Amos Chibaya and Costa Machingauta.
Kadzere was left nursing a fractured wrist and had to undergo surgery.
In an interview, Kadzere says the initial resolve he had to represent his clients on the fateful day has only gotten stronger.
“I have no fear of anything. In fact, it has boosted my resolve. I am confident of whatever I am doing. I am passionate about my work and I will continue to do my work as a human rights lawyer. I will not let this intimidate me. As you can see, I was there today (Thursday 19 January 2023) representing my clients and that is my mandate as a human rights lawyer,” said Kadzere.
With his arm supported by a sling, Kadzere is one of the five lawyers representing the group that includes a 17-year-old girl and 81-year-old Sekuru Netsambo. His wrist was operated on three days after the ordeal and he is recovering from home.
He put up a spirited delivery during cross-examination of the police officer from Harare Law and Order department who was a witness in objecting to bail.
Kadzere was beaten up when he had followed his clients to the police station.
He was later charged with trying to escape lawful custody after he went back to the station to report the assault.
Kadzere was supposed to appear in court on Thursday for initial appearance, but the police developed cold feet.
“I was supposed to have appeared in court today, (Thursday 19 January 2023), but it appears that the police are not ready to take the matter to court and we have not been advised of any changes,” Kadzere told The NewsHawks.
Kadzere has been doing human rights work for the past 10 years and the recent attack has not dented his fighting spirit.
Although his resolve has redoubled, the Law Society of Zimbabwe bemoaned the state’s attack on the citizens’ last line of defence.
“This is a new low for Zimbabwe and we are deeply disappointed that of all people, the police who have a constitutional obligation to protect the rights of all citizens have taken a front row seat to violating the same. This is a sad indictment on the professionalism of our police force which is expected to operate in a fair and non-partisan manner,” read a statement from LSZ after Kadzere’s assault.
The Law Society added that a full investigation should be conducted and the culprits brought to book.
“The Law Society of Zimbabwe demands an explanation and a full investigation, as well as prosecution of those behind Mr Kadzere’s assault. Such kind of behaviour must not be allowed in our country and should be frowned upon. The right of lawyers to represent all who require legal representation should be sacrosanct and the police must be the first to defend it,” the statement reads.