Court convicts Sanyatwe, Muchinguri over 2019 army shootings

Source: Court convicts Sanyatwe, Muchinguri over 2019 army shootings

A ZIMBABWEAN court has ordered Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Commander Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe and Defence Minister Hon. Oppah Muchinguri to fork out about US$30 000 in damages to compensate Felix Mafondokoto, a victim of army brutality, who was shot by a soldier during a clampdown on anti-government protests held five years ago.

A soldier fires shots towards demonstrators in Zimbabwe on August 1 2018, as protests erupted over alleged fraud in the country’s election. PHOTO | ZINYANGE AUNTONY | AFP

Mafondokoto, a 43 year-old resident of Chitungwiza, was shot by ZNA members on 19 January 2019, when soldiers were dispersing people during a clampdown on anti-government protests, which gripped the country as people protested against an arbitrary hike in fuel prices and the agonising economic crisis blamed on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.

While Mafondokoto was not participating in the protests, he ended up being admitted in hospital after sustaining injuries from being shot at by a ZNA member.

The Chitungwiza resident, who suffered severe injuries from the shooting and still has some bullet fragments in his body, engaged Kossam Ncube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who assisted him to sue Sanyatwe and Hon. Muchinguri and demanded to be paid US$49 000 in damages for the violation of his fundamental rights.

In the summons filed at Harare Civil Magistrates Court, Mafondokoto asked the court to order Sanyatwe and Hon. Muchinguri to compensate him for pain and suffering which he endured, nervous shock, loss of earnings and for the medical expenses, which he incurred as he got hospitalised for treatment.

On Monday 20 May 2024, after presiding over a full trial in which Lieutenant Colonel Whatmore Ziweni, the ZNA Operations Chief, testified on behalf of Sanyatwe and Muchinguri, Harare Magistrate Mandlenkosi Ndhlovu ordered the duo to pay US$29 182 to Mafondokoto as compensation for the damages, which he suffered from the brutality perpetrated by soldiers.

Magistrate Ndhlovu ruled that Mafondokoto suffered severe injuries and endured excruciating pain and suffering and had to undergo various operation procedures.

Magistrate Ndhlovu stated that Mafondokoto now struggles to work for extended periods of time because of the injuries, which he sustained and which now impacts his livelihood.

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